When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly," while magazine articles are usually considered "popular." Note that not everything published in a scholarly journal is peer-reviewed; there are also book reviews, editorials, etc., that wlil show up in searches of scholarly journals but that are not peer-reviewed articles.
|Criteria||Scholarly Journals||Popular Magazines|
|Content||In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication.||Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information; purpose is to entertain or inform.|
|Author||Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.||Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles; may or may not have subject expertise.|
|Audience||Scholars, researchers, and students.||General public; the interested non-specialist.|
|Language||Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.||Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.|
|Graphics||Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.||Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.|
|Layout & Organization||Structured; generally includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.||Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.|
|Accountability||Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.||Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.|
|References||Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.||Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.|
|Examples||Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly, almost anything with Journal in the title.||
Time, Newsweek, The Nation, The Economist
Adapted from a LibGuide by Beth Rohloff at Tufts University's Tisch Library.
View the following video to find out how to distinguish between academic journals and magazines:
When you're searching in one of our online databases, it's easy to limit your search to peer-reviewed journals. For example, in Academic Search Premier, there's an option on the main search page under "Limit your results" to limit the search to scholarly (peer reviewed) journals:
You can also limit your results after you've done a search by clicking the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box in the left margin next to the results:
Keep in mind that not everything appearing in a peer-reviewed journal is a peer-reviewed article; there are also book reviews, editorials, etc.