Skip to main content

Teacher Education Resources: Scholarly vs. Popular

Resources and procedures for students working toward certification in K-12.

Scholarly Journals v. Popular Periodicals Characteristics

When searching for periodical articles, be aware of the difference between scholarly and popular publications (your instructor may require you to use only scholarly journal articles for your research.)

 Scholarly Journals

  • Articles tend to be lengthy
  • Reading the articles requires your undivided attention
  • The author provides a complete list (bibliography) of the sources used
  • The entire issue is devoted to one topic, such as biology
  • Articles contain few pictures and advertisements
  • Often there are illustrations or graphs supporting the authors research
  • Articles usually are located by using a subject-oriented database such as PsycINFOHistorical AbstractsBiological Abstracts, etc.
  • The authors credentials are provided
  • The periodical is published or sponsored by a scholarly or a professional association or an academic press

Examples:  Psychological BulletinJournal of Physical ChemistryModern Fiction Studies 

Popular Magazines

  • Articles tend to be short
  • Articles are easy to read
  • There may be no indication of where the author got the information used in the article
  • The issue may be devoted to one or many topics
  • There often are many pictures
  • There are many advertisements
  • Articles are found using a general database such as Academic Search Complete
  • You may not know who wrote the article or the author's credentials
  • Periodical is published by commercial publisher

Examples:  Popular MechanicsNewsweekEbonySports Illustrated 

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Loyola Marymount University tutorial.

Your Librarian

Martha Allen's picture
Martha Allen
Pius XII Memorial Library

Room 202D