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Information Resources for AOE Students: Popular vs. Scholarly Articles

The purpose of this guide is to introduce CPS students to navigation of Lightner Library resources and to provide research tutorials.

Types of Journals

Types of Journals (also known as Periodicals)

As you proceed through your program, you may be required to cite scholarly articles in your research papers. Or you may have to critique a scholarly article. What is a scholarly journal and how is it different from a magazine or newspaper? All three are called periodicals because they are published at periodic intervals throughout the year.

Watch the videos and read below to find out the difference between these types of sources, to better understand the peer-review process, and to learn how to identify these articles when you find them online.

Click in the upper, left-hand corner of the video window below to view both of the videos in the playlist.

Popular Sources: Newspapers & Magazines



  • Current events
  • Local / regional focus
  • Written for general public
  • Published daily or weekly
  • Newsprint, some color, ads
  • No formal list of references


  • Specific interests and/or current events
  • Brief articles and interviews
  • Written for general public
  • Published weekly or monthly
  • Glossy and colorful; Lots of pictures and ads
  • No formal list of references

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly Journals


  • Reports of original research
  • In-depth analysis of topics
  • Written for experts in the field
  • Published quarterly, semi-annually, or monthly
  • Book-like, usually black and white
  • Few or no pictures and ads
  • All references cited
  • Tend to be peer-reviewed

What is peer-review and how does it work?

Peer-review is a process by which a team of experts in the same subject area as the proposed article review the proposed article for accuracy, validity, and quality. This happens in addition to the regular editorial process for the journal and can be a very time-consuming process.

To gain a clearer understanding of peer-review, watch the video below called Peer Review in 3 Minutes.

Recognizing Articles from Scholarly Journals

The following video can help you to recognize a scholarly article when you see one. (You can also use our library databases to limit your results to only articles from peer-reviewed journals.)

Reading a Scholarly Article

Scholarly articles are set up a little differently than popular articles and tend to follow a similar format. Take a look at the links below to know what to expect when you start using scholarly articles for research.

AOE Librarian

April Higgins's picture
April Higgins
(315) 279-5411