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PED 111: Finding Scholarly Articles: Scholarly vs. Popular

Finding scholarly articles in electronic format for PED 111.

Format Chart

Scholarly Journals v. Popular Magazine Articles




How can you tell the difference
between these two types of
periodical articles?

Journal of Research in Personality Time Magazine


Longer articles, providing
in-depth analysis of topics

Shorter articles, providing
broader overviews of topics


Author usually an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided

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


Written in the jargon of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students)

Written in non-technical language for anyone to understand


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

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


Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field (refereed)

Articles are not evaluated by experts in the field, but by editors on staff


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

A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text

Still can't tell the difference? These library resources can help:

  • The Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, this reference book lists whether a periodical is scholarly or not.
  • Magazines for Libraries / located in the Reference area (on the main floor).

This page courtesy of the University of Texas San Antonio Library -

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Bob Flatley
Library 25A