Some databases provide access to only one type of article (scholarly) and others provide a blend of magazine (popular literature) articles and scholarly articles from journals. There are usually tools within the products to let you sort your search results by those types, if you need to identify how they differ. See the Scholarly vs. Popular tab box below to understand those differences.
Popular Magazines vs. Scholarly Journals
Magazines and journals are both types of periodicals.
A periodical is any publication produced periodically, in regularly recurring intervals.
Periodicals are made up of articles.
They exist in both print and electronic format.
To locate articles in a periodical, use a database or index.
To determine which type of publication is most suited for your research, consult the chart of characteristics below.
The nature of your information need will impact which types of periodicals are most appropriate for your research.
Popular Magazinesalso known as the "popular press"
Scholarly Journalsalso known as the "academic press"
Usually preferred by faculty
Articles accepted in scholarly journals generally undergo one of two review processes before being accepted for publication.
Some databases provide filtering options to limit your results to either magazines or academic journals. You may still need to do additional filtering of your results to locate journals which are peer-reviewed.
Andruss Library at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania diagrams the scholarly review processes like this:
and popular magazines vs. scholarly journals, like this:
Two other types of periodicals you may encounter in your research are professional and trade publications. Periodicals of these types are usually produced by either the professional or trade association to which a member belongs. Examples include: American Libraries, a membership publication for professional libraries and library staff, or Construction News, a membership publication for the building and construction trade. Professional and trade publications are useful for reading membership news and catching the pulse of people working in a field.