Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

It's often hard to tell whether a periodical falls under the category of popular or scholarly.
Here are some criteria to help you differentiate between them.

  • Professional or scholar working in the field
  • Often include multiple authors
  • Usually a journalist or other generalist
  • Usually one or two authors
  • Written for professionals, scholars, and students within a field
  • General public
  • Focus is on research conducted in a subject area
  • Language is highly specialized and technical
  • Articles discuss research methods and results
  • Few ads and photographs
  • Longer articles - often 10+ pages
  • List of references featured with articles
  • General introduction to a topic
  • Focus is on general interest
  • Easy to read
  • Features many ads, photos
  • Usually no longer than 2-3 pages
Examples Published in Journals
  • New England Journal of Medicine
  • Journal of Popular Culture
  • Nature
Published in Magazines
  • Time
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Ladies Home Journal