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Popular vs. Scholarly Articles: Popular vs. Scholarly Articles

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. 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.

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

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

Recognizing Articles from Scholarly Journals

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

What is Peer Review?

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.