Rensselaer Libraries

From Popular Magazine to Scholarly Journal

Posted: Feb 22, 2010

A list of general criteria that can be used to identify popular magazines, trade magazines, and scholarly journals follows. Some journals do not meet all the criteria in one category. For example, Scientific American, which has glossy pages and color pictures, contains both scholarly articles as well as those geared to a more general audience.
CRITERIA POPULAR MAGAZINE SPECIALIZED MAGAZINE TRADE MAGAZINE SCHOLARLY JOURNAL
Audience
general population general population, as well as target audiences members of specific business, industry or organization researchers and professionals
Readability
easy to read; non-technical varies; may be more difficult than popular magazine includes some jargon and technical language academic or technical language
Content
personalities, news, and general interest articles wide-ranging, but with focus on a subject area; regular features are included industry trends, new products or techniques, and organizational news research results, methodology, and theory
Authors
articles written by staff or freelancers; articles may be unsigned articles written by staff, freelancers or contributing authors; articles may be unsigned authors are staff writers or outside contributors; articles may be unsigned authors are specialists in a field
References & Footnotes usually no bibliographies accompany articles articles may have short bibliographies articles may have short bibliographies articles include footnotes and bibliographies
Editorial Review articles reviewed by editors on staff

articles reviewed by staff editors

articles reviewed by staff editors articles reviewed by experts in field (refereed/peer review)
Examples Newsweek

Business Week

Psychology Today

The Economist

Scientific American

National Geographic

The Futurist

Chilton's Food Engineering

Billboard

Urban Studies

Journal of Applied Psychology

Journal of the Royal Musical Association

(Acknowledgment: Colorado State University Libraries , Popular Magazines vs. Trade Magazine vs. Scholarly Journals)


Peer Reviewed or Refereed Journals Up Arrow

"Peer review" journals are reviewed by experts in the field. These experts examine journal articles to determine if the article will be accepted or rejected for publication. In some cases the expert may recommend changes in the article before it is accepted for publication. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review. Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory ( Z 6941 P44), located on the first floor of Folsom Library, has a list of refereed journals. Not all scholarly journals are on this list. For unlisted journals, examine the editorial policy, instructions to authors, and/or the editorial board list of members to determine if the editorial boards and/or consultants are experts in the field. (Acknowledgment: Colorado State University Libraries , Popular Magazines vs. Trade Magazine vs. Scholarly Journals)

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