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Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines - Distinguishing Characteristics


Sometimes author is not named; journalist

Nearly always named; expert (scholar, researcher, professional) in field
REFERENCE NOTES or BIBLIOGRAPHY** Generally no references notes or bibliography Usually includes references and/or bibliography
STYLE Written for mass market, current events, general interest Written for scholars, experts in the field, students doing research; many include graphs, charts, research findings


Editors of magazine select articles to be included Usually selected by a panel of experts in the field (referees)
ADS Many, varied, often colorful Few or none; related to professional materials
APPEARANCE Glossy, many pictures Mostly print; few pictures


Usually weekly or monthly Usually monthly or quarterly
  • Time, Newsweek                         (Current news magazines)

  • Essence, Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, Sport
    (Popular topics such as sports, travel, fashion, fiction)

  • The American Spectator (Conservative opinion)

  • The Nation (Liberal opinion)



  • American Anthropologist

  • American Indian Quarterly

  • Science

  • Scientific American





**CHARACTERISTICS: AUTHOR and REFERENCE NOTES are the most important in identifying a scholarly journal.  If you are unsure if you have a magazine or journal, ask your instructor or a librarian.                                                  

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