This is the "Scholarly versus Non-Scholarly? What's the Difference?" page of the "Identify Scholarly Periodicals" guide.
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Identify Scholarly Periodicals  

Last Updated: Jul 8, 2012 URL: http://marymount.libguides.com/scholarly Print Guide RSS Updates
Scholarly versus Non-Scholarly? What's the Difference? Print Page
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How do I tell the difference between a scholarly document and a non-scholarly document?

The best way to tell the difference between scholarly or non-scholarly publications is to examine the features of each. The chart below provides a summary of the key differences:

 

SCHOLARLY/
PEER REVIEWED/
REFEREED

 

PROFESSIONAL/
TRADE JOURNALS

 

 

POPULAR

Description

Reports original research or academic study Contains serious, substantial articles

Appeals to general audience

Examples

Journal of American History
Journal of Educational Psychology
Business Economics
American Nurse
Sports Illustrated
Time

Authors

Scholars, researchers, professors in the field Staff writers, practitioners, free lancers Journalists, staff writers

Content
Length
Language

 

Original research, experiments, or analysis

Always contains extensive bibliographies,
foot/end notes

Long articles

Professional, scholarly language, usually
discipline specific

Articles for practitioners

May have a list of references

Shorter articles than scholarly journals

Technical language

General interest and news

Rarely has bibliography
or references

Short articles, often general/
broad scope

Non-technical language

Publishers

Universities, research institutions

Commercial publishers

Professional organizations

Commercial publishers

Commercial Publishers


Graphics

 

Little advertising

Charts, graphs, little color

Advertisements

Some color and photographs

Advertisements

Glossy photographs, colorful

Please note: These are general guidelines for evaluating the difference. Not all articles in scholarly
journals are scholarly, though! If you have any questions about an article, please check with your professor.

 

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