Scholarly journals are often refereed to as peer reviewed or refereed journals. They contain articles that have undergone a review process by selected experts in the field before being accepted for publication. They have a serious format and usually have charts and graphs to illustrate concepts. All of the sources are cited with footnotes and/or a bibliography. Scholars or researchers in a specific discipline or field write the articles. The material uses the terminology and language of the discipline and, the reader is expected to have a similar background. The purpose of these journals is to report or make research available to the scholarly world. Many of these journals are published by a professional organization. Use scholarly journals if you need verifiable and highly credible information. Scholarly journals often feature primary research with detailed analysis.
General interest or popular magazines do not undergo peer review. They usually have an attractive format with photos and illustrations. They are frequently written for a general audience by a staff or scholarly writer. The language is simple and easy to understand. The purpose of these publications is to provide general information, entertain, and sometimes sell products. They are published by commercial enterprises for profit. Use popular interest journals if you only require general information about a topic. Do not expect to find substantial detail or in-depth analysis.
Peer Reviewed or Refereed Journals:
American Journal of Sociology
New England Journal of Medicine
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Journal of Counseling Psychology
The Reading Teacher
General or Popular Magazines:
Phi Delta Kappan
Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
provides information on more than 300,000 periodicals, including scholarly and popular sources. You may search for a specific title or browse by subject. Within the record for each journal, look for the "Content Type" field. The field will have a notation for "Academic/Scholarly" if the journal meets this criteria.
Many databases provide ways for you to limit your search to just scholarly/peer reviewed sources. This option is often available on the Advanced Search screen. When searching in a database, look for a box to check that reads "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals," "Peer Reviewed," or something similar to limit your search. Be sure to check this box before beginning your search.