Skip to main content

Scholarly Publications

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". A third category, "trade" magazines or journals, are written for professionals in a particular field but are not strictly research related. Below are additional criteria to consider when differentiating between journals and magazines.

PDF icon Printer friendly version

Criteria Ccholarly Journal Popular Magazine Trade Magazine/Journal
Sample Cover Ecology journal cover Journal cover Journal cover
Audience Academics and Professionals General public People in business
Authors Experts or specialist (PhD). Unpaid. Journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers. Paid. Staff writers, industry specialists, or vendor representatives.
Usually paid.
Editorial Review Journal editorial board and peer reviewers. Unpaid. Professional editors. Paid. Professional editors or staff. Usually paid.
References/Works Cited Almost always. Rarely. Sometimes.
Example Journal Ecology New Scientist Biocycle
Stated Purpose

“Established in 1920, Ecology publishes research and synthesis
papers on all aspects of ecology, with particular emphasis on
papers that develop new concepts in ecology.”

Published monthly by the Ecological Society of America

“Featuring a selection of the latest news stories
from the worlds of science and technology”

Published weekly

“BioCycle is recognized worldwide for its authoritative
coverage on composting, organics recycling, anaerobic
digestion, renewable energy and community sustainability.”

Published monthly
Example Article Title Dynamics of an Old-forest Species “Trump’s anti-science era begins” Economic Impact of Food Scraps Diversion&rdquo
Price $1203 USD/year (12 issues) $99 CND/year (52 issues) $79 USD/year (11 issues)

KPU Library’s guide developed by Chris Burns (Revised June 2017 by Celia Brinkerhoff)
Based on “Teach Yourself: Understanding Scholarly Sources” created by North Carolina State University Libraries.  CCBYNCSA