Pathfinder Is It Scholarly, Peer Review or Popular?

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You need to write a research paper for class and your teacher's instructions include the terms scholarly journals and refereed journals. What does that mean?

Refereed Journals/Peer Review Journals/Juried Journals
  1. Refereed, peer review, juried journals are terms different people use to refer to the same thing. Refereed (peer review, juried) journals are scholarly journals where the scholarship of the article has been reviewed by experts in the same field, before the article is published in the journal.
  2. The review process can take months but provides some authority to the article.
  3. Refereed/peer review journals are the most significant of the scholarly journals.
  4. Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory (Reference Room, Ref Z6941 .U5 2005) is a multivolume set which is the comprehensive list of published, refereed journals.
In addition to scholarly and popular periodicals, you will encounter periodicals designed for "special" audiences. Newsletters, trade and some government publications may have the "dry" tone to their articles similar to a scholarly journal. Go through a checklist to see if your article/publication follows the criteria for a scholarly journal. When in doubt check with your teacher before you include the article in your paper.
Some general criteria for distinguishing between scholarly and popular publications. (Warning some publications like Scientific American and New Scientist have both scholarly articles written by researchers and news updates.)

Criteria: Scholarly Publications Popular Publications (Magazines)
Intended Audience Researchers, college and university professors and students in the field General Public or Hobbyist. Usually does not require specialized knowledge in the field
Appearance Usually black and white with charts, graphs, tables. Few illustrations. Few ads, usually limited to services or periodicals in the same field. Subscriptions and memberships, college/university, research organizations provide for publishing costs. Colorful, usually well illustrated to attract the reader. Many advertisements, usually full page, color. Lots of white space. Advertising and a popular audience pay for publishing.
Author Written by scholar or researcher in the field, the author will have expertise in the field from formal education or experience Credentials for the author may not be given or may not be relevant to the topic. The author's name may not be given.
Purpose and Intent Report on original research, experimentation, methodology, theory. Expand knowledge in the field, allow the theories, research reported to be tested, confirmed by others, or to be disproved. Research documentation will include footnotes and bibliographies citing the author's research and any experimentation done will include enough information on method to allow others to replicate his experiment. Sell the magazine. Promote a viewpoint. Entertain, inform, sensationalize, inflame. Sources are rarely cited. Magazine do not need to "prove" anything, they can announce without proof. If there is "evidence", be critical like the web, today anyone can "print" anything.
Publisher: Professional organizations, research institutions/universities, scholarly press. Commercial for profit. Organizational presses. Private presses. Vanity presses

Asian Survey

Comparative Politics

Crime & Delinquency

Atlanic Monthly




National Review

Sports Illustrated


Refereed, Peer Review, Juried If a scholarly journal selects articles for inclusion by a panel of experts in the field reviewing the research, the journal is known as a peer-reviewed or refereed publication. If you need refereed/peer review articles check the journal's policy for submission and publication of articles. The policy may be included in each issue; if not it will be published at least once during the year (or check Ulrich's). It has to be a "scholarly journal" not a magazine for this special status.
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