Spiva Library

Evaluating Journals

CHARACTERISTICS

SCHOLARLY JOURNALS

GENERAL MAGAZINES

How to tell the difference between these two types of periodicals:

American Journal of Law and Medicine

Time-Twisters

Content

Reports on original research; in-depth analysis of topics; statistical information; academic level book reviews; refereed or peer-reviewed

Current events and news; hot topics; brief, factual information; interviews

Length


Longer articles providing in-depth analysis of topics


Shorter articles providing broader overviews of topics

Authorship


Author usually an expert or specialist in the field; name and credentials always provided - researchers, academics, professors, scholars

Author usually a staff writer or a journalist; name and credentials often not provided

Language


Academic level writing & vocabulary; specialized language of the discipline; can be highly technical

Non-technical vocabulary; often simple language

CHARACTERISTICS

SCHOLARLY JOURNALS

GENERAL MAGAZINES

Format/Structure


Articles usually more structured; may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography

Articles do not necessarily follow a specific format or structure

Editors


Editors/reviewers are experts in the same field as author(s); many participate in peer-review process prior to publication; rigorous publication standards; articles checked for content, format and style

Editors not academic experts in subject field of article; article topics often assigned or contracted; articles usually only edited for style and format

Publishers


Professional organizations; Universities, research institutes and scholarly presses

Commercial/trade publishers; corporate ownership

Special Features


Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs


Illustrations with glossy or color photographs, usually for advertising purposes

Credits


A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly


A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided; names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text; sources, when used, are rarely cited in full

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