Scholarly/Popular/Trade Magazines & Journals

Periodicals include materials that are published on a regular basis such as  magazines, newspapers and journals. When you are looking for information, you will often use the SCC Library databases to find journal articles. Most instructors will require that you use  journal articles that are  peer-reviewed (or scholarly) articles.

What is a peer-reviewed article? After the first manuscript is submitted to a peer-reviewed publication, a panel of experts reviews the article to ensure that it meets rigorous standards of quality and accuracy and the research methodology used is sound.  The panel of experts also checks the documentation of sources to verify the facts and methods used to reach conclusions.

Journal articles report on new research or provide a review of existing research.  Magazine articles often report news stories and provide opinions. The following chart at the end of this post should be helpful to determine if you have a scholarly article.

SCC Library databases EBSCO and Academic Search Elite allow you to limit your results list to peer-reviewed articles.  by checking “peer-reviewed” as you set up your search.


Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals, and Popular Magazines Characteristics

Scholarly Journal Article Trade Journal Article Popular Magazine Article
Author Usually researcher in a specific field. Often a staff writer A journalist, but their name is not always given.
Purpose Share results of research and experiments. Share information with individuals with an interest in a particular field. To entertain or inform
Appearance Mostly text that includes charts & graphs. Often includes pictures and ads focused on the specific industry. Includes many pictures and advertisements geared toward the general public.
Language Uses technical or language related to a specific discipline. Includes articles about current news or practices in the industry. Casual language
Sources Always contains  References or Bibliographies. Contains an occasional list of references. Rarely cites sources.

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