Skip to main content
BGSU Firelands Library

GSW 1110/1120: Magazines vs Journals

GSW 1110/1120 - Introductory & Intermediate Writing

Scholarly or Not?

For some assignments, your instructor may require you to locate information in scholarly research journals, but how can you easily know the differences between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine?  This sort of basic evaluation is a necessary part of the research process, and a means for you to sharpen your critical thinking skills. 

Some of the ways that a research journal typically differs from a popular magazine are:

 AUTHORITY
Scholarly journal articles will indicate authors and their academic credentials; popular magazines may not always list the author.

CITATION
Scholarly journal articles will include footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, or reference lists; popular magazine articles very rarely do this.

CONTENT
Scholarly journal articles focus on research; popular magazines focus on current events & topics of general interest, and include lots of ads for consumer products.

PEER REVIEW
Scholarly journal articles are reviewed and fully critiqued by subject experts for research accuracy & importance before being published; popular magazines are not as rigorous.

POINT OF SALE
Where you find publications for sale is a clue.  It may be difficult to locate scholarly journals at all outside of research libraries; popular magazines are usually much easier to find.

PUBLICATION
FREQUENCY
Scholarly journals are usually published two or  four times a year; popular magazines may be published daily, weekly, or monthly.

Watch this video about Scholarly Journals