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Physics, Applied Science & Astronomy

What is a Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Article?

Scholarly vs Popular

When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly" or "refereed" while magazine articles are usually considered "popular" or "sensational". Always know which type is acceptable for your research.

  Refereed or Scholarly Journal News/General Interest Popular Magazine Sensational Publication
Format Has serious format Attractive in appearance Generally slick/glossy with an attractive format Cheap newspaper format
Graphics Graphs and charts to illustrate concepts Photos, graphics and illustrations used to enhance articles Photos, illustrations and drawing to enhance image of publication Contains melodramatic, lurid or "doctored" photos
Sources Cited sources with footnotes and/or bibliography Occasionally cite sources, but not as a rule Rarely cite sources. Original sources may be obscure Rarely cite sources of information
Authors Written by scholars or researchers in the field or discipline Written for an educated, general audience by staff, free-lance or scholarly writers Written by the staff or free-lance writers for a broad audience Written by free-lance or staff writers
Language Uses terminology, jargon, and the language of the discipline. Reader is assumed to have similar background Uses language appropriate for an educated readership Uses simple language for minimal educational level. Articles are short, with little depth Contains language that is simple, easy-to-read and understand. Sensational style is often used
Purpose To inform, report, or make original research available to the scholarly world Provide general information to a wide, interested audience Designed to entertain or persuade, to sell products or services Arouse curiosity and interest by distorting the truth. Often uses outrageous or startling headlines
Publishers Generally published by a professional organization Published by commercial enterprises for profit Published for profit Published for profit
Advertising Contains selective advertising Carries advertising Contains extensive advertising Contains advertising as alluring and startling as the stories
Examples American Journal of Sociology, Harvard Business Review, Canadian Historical Review Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Fortune, Psychology Today, Scientific American Better Homes and Gardens, GQ, Glamour, People, Sports Illustrated Globe, National Enquirer, National Examiner, Star, Sun