Q. What is a peer reviewed or scholarly journal article compared to a magazine article


Below is a listing of general characteristics which can be used to identify differences between popular magazines and scholarly journals. Some magazines and journals, however, may not meet all the criteria in any one category. Some publications may mix 'magazine' content with more scholarly 'journal articles', so judge by the individual article as well as the entire publication.  Besides, with the availability of full text articles from databases, it may be difficult to judge characteristics of the publication as a whole.


Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journals*


Attractive appearance, Eye-catching cover
Pictures and illustrations in color
Glossy paper

Plain cover
May contain graphs, charts or case studies
Plain paper


Non-professionals, General audience
Written in non-technical language

Professors, scholars, researchers, or students
Written in the technical language of the field


Personalities, news, and general interest articles
A wide variety of subjects
Articles written by staff, may be unsigned

Report original research, discoveries, or experimentation
Publish research projects, their methodology, and significance
Articles written by contributing authors, with institution indicated



Few or none


Reviewed by editors

Reviewed by editors, peers, and referees


Few or no bibliographic references

Bibliographic references (footnotes, end notes, etc.)


National Geographic
National Wildlife

Biology of the Cell
Social Forces
School Science Review
Journal of Health Care Management

*sometimes also referred to as 'academic', 'refereed' or 'peer reviewed' article


  • Last Updated Nov 14, 2016
  • Views 112
  • Answered By Eleanor Goldberg

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