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USP 144: Environmental And Preventive Health Issues: Identifying Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Differences between Scholarly & Popular Information


Scholarly Journals Popular Magazine
Advertising Few, if any, ads. Most ads will be for books, other journals, and academic conferences. Many slick ads for consumer products.
Appearance - Overall Sober and serious often presenting data or research results using charts, graphs, and equations. Flashy and glossy with many illustrations or pictures. Few charts and graphs. Definitely no equations.
Article Acceptance & Editing Uses a “peer review” or “referee” process, in which articles are reviewed by other experts in the field. Look for an “Instructions for Authors” section online at the journal's web page or look up the journal in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. Articles are reviewed by the journal's editors before publication.
Article Length Varies, but often a very long paper. Generally shorter.
Article Structure Has an abstract, and often the abstract, like paper is structured into sections: introduction, methodology, results, and conclusions. Comparatively unstructured.
Audience Scholars, researchers, and students. Uses scholarly terminology and jargon. General public. Language is accessible to most readers.
Authors Experts in the field. The authors’ credentials, affiliations, and contact information are listed Reporters and freelance writers. Names and affiliations may not be listed.
References Includes extensive footnotes and/or bibliography. Rarely includes footnotes or bibliography.   

Not Sure if the Journal is a Scholarly One?

Want to double check that journal?  Search Ulrich's and when you see the little "referere shirt" icon, you'll know it is a scholaly peer-reviewed journal.  Note:  article types matter, so a letter to the editor is not really scholarly as say an an article about someone's research.