The terms, "scholarly", "academic", and "peer-reviewed" are all used to describe articles reporting on current research in a specific discipline or field of study.
Articles published in peer-reviewed journals are reviewed by experts in the same field of study (scientists, professors, etc.), thus the term "peer-reviewed." The process of getting an article published in a peer-reviewed journal is rigorous and competitive, usually requiring several rounds of editing and re-submission, therefore, an article published in these journals can be considered reliable, or authoritative.
Periodicals are publications that are issued on a regular, or periodic, interval. Periodicals can be excellent sources of concise, focused articles on current events and social issues. Articles in periodicals typically address a very specific aspect of a larger topic.
Different types of periodicals are suitable for different types of information, and are published at different intervals.
This chart outlines characteristics to help distinguish among types of periodicals:
|Magazines and Newspapers||Scholarly Journals||Trade Journals|
|Authors||Reporters, journalists||Researchers, scholars in the field||Professionals in the field|
|Purpose||Entertain, persuade, inform||Disseminate research, educate, communicate||Share information in the field|
|Audience||General public||Researchers, experts, students in the field||Professionals and students in the field|
Writing Style & Vocabulary
|Simple, easy-to-read, writing and vocabulary||
Sophisticated, high-level writing
Technical, discipline-specific vocabulary
Readable by general population
Vocabulary specific to profession
|Sources||Not cited||Cited with footnotes or bibliography||Generally not cited as scholarly journals are, but references may be given|
|Advertising||Extensive||Announcements for conferences, publications in the field||Specific to products and services in the profession|
|Graphics||Usually photographs accompany articles||Charts, tables, statistical data to support articles||Photographs, charts, data|
|Publishers||Commercial, for-profit||Professional society, university, or non-profit organization||Professional or trade organization, non-profit organization|
|Is it Refereed or Peer-reviewed?||No||Yes, articles must meet rigorous standards and be reviewed by a panel of experts before being accepted for publication||Not a peer-review process, but articles are checked for accuracy before publication|
New York Times
Reading Research Quarterly
Journal of Marriage and the Family
Modern Fiction Studies
New England Journal of Medicine
Law and Order
Phi Delta Kappan