This is the "Home" page of the "Differences between popular and scholarly publications" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Differences between popular and scholarly publications  

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Home Print Page

Tutorials from other libraries

Popular v. Scholarly Articles Guide a short guide from the University of Arizona.

Research Minutes: How to identify scholarly articles a brief video on Youtube from Cornell University.

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines a simple chart from Duke University.


Searching in Periodical Indexes

   If you are looking for popular publications, Lexis-Nexis or Proquest are good examples of databases that include articles from popular publications, including newspapers and magazines.

   Many subject specific periodical indexes like Art Index or SocIndex with Full Text include ONLY scholarly articles.

   Remember that you can sometimes tell just by looking at a citation whether or not an article is scholarly. Look for the following:

  • Is the author's name included? Scholarly publications will include the author's name.
  • Is the title of the publication in which the article appaered easily recognizable as a scholarly publication? For example:

                 European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology  OR

                 Advances in Space Research OR

                     Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography

  • Is the title of the publication in which the article appeared easily recognizable as a popular publication? You may recognize the titles of many popular publications right away, for example: People Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, etc.
  • If you are looking at an article that includes full text, does it have footnotes? Is there a bibliography? Do you find information about the author's affiliations?

   Also, while you are searching, keep in mind:

  • Many databases give you the option of searching only for scholarly publications on the advanced search screen - In Proquest, look for "Publication Type" and use the drop down menu to choose "Scholarly publications." In Academic Search, check the "Scholary/Peer Reviewed Journals" box before you begin your search. Be on the lookout for options like this.


  • Many databases also allow you to sort your results into scholarly publications, newspaper articles, magazines, etc. In Proquest, you can click on the "Scholarly Journals" tab after you have done a search and gotten a list of results - this will eliminate any articles from newspapers or magazines. Academic Search offers the same option after you do a search with the links to your left next to your list of results, where you can click on "Scholarly Journals" to sort your results.


  • Many databases provide information on whether or not a publication is peer-reviewed or scholarly/academic. For example, in Academic Search Premier, records for individual articles have links to information about the publication in which they appeared, including publication type (Academic Journal, Periodical, etc.), available issues, and whether or not the publication is peer-reviewed. To locate this information, just click on the publication in the record.



Peer Review

When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors have others scholars in the same field (the author's peers) "review" the article and evaluate its methodology and content and the quality of the article, its relevance to the field, its importance as a contribution to research on the topic, etc. 

For more on peer review, visit Peer Review in Five Minutes, an online tutorial from North Carolina State University Libraries.




Loading  Loading...