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Is It Scholarly or General? How Will I Know?

Distinguishing features of scholarly journals and general magazines.

Instruction and Reference Librarian

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Donna Miller
Subjects: Research Help

What are ... ?


Periodicals include newspapers, popular/general magazines, and scholarly journals.  Each of these is published on a regular or periodic (daily, weekly, monthly) basis, hence the name--periodicals.


Journals are the primary means of communication among scholars within a particular field.  Scholarly or academic journals usually present original research, and sometimes (but not always) will be peer-reviewed or refereed.  Professional or trade journals provide information to those in the field or industry.



General/popular magazines are usually commercially published; they cover current or popular topics, and may be purchased at newstands/grocery stores.  Magazines provide good overviews of a topic. 


Journals and magazines are important sources of up-to-date information.

Use this guide to learn the differences between  general magazines, trade/professional journals, and scholarly journals.   

This guide will also help you to determine if the article you've found is peer-reviewed, or refereed.

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