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How to Research: Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Gateway Library general information for your research project

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Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Criteria Magazines Journals
Level: Popular, "easy reading" Scholarly, technical, research based
References: None Yes, good bibliographies and/or footnotes
Advertisements: Lots, general products, foods, household goods, etc. None or only special products aimed at professional users
Audience: Lay people, "just folks" Scholars, students of the field 
Publishers: For-profit corporations Learned societies, professional associations, governmental organizations, education institutions, or others interested in furthering knowledge 
Inclusion: Single editor or board judging piece on interest, style, readability, and conformity to the magazine's purpose 

Editorial board of fellow scholars reviewing the work for validity, reliability, contribution

Visuals:

People, places, general illustrations, few graphs, tables, etc. 

Generally fewer visuals; when included, tend to be tables, graphs, charts

Appearance:

Glossy, "snazzy", colorful, good looking 

Good paper, high quality production

Pagination:

Start with page 1 each issue

Continuous through volume 

* The word "journal" or lack thereof does not necessarily indicate whether or not an item is a journal. Source: Montana State University Libraries (www.lib.montana.edu/instruct/guides/magjour.html)

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