Our Finding Journal Articles guide explains this. See Step 5: Identifying peer-reviewed journals.
Scholarly vs. Popular Articles
Scholarly journal articles are an important source for research at the University level. They are written by scholars or researchers with expertise in the field and are designed to share the results of original research or thought with the academic community.
Here are some key differences between scholarly and popular publications (e.g. magazines or newspapers):
(e.g., magazines, newspapers, etc.)
- Written by scholars or researchers
- Intended audiences are professors, students and researchers
- Lengthy articles with in-depth coverage of topics
- May have a "serious" look -- very few photos or ads
- Always include a bibliography (works cited)
- May use discipline-specific language or jargon
- Often written by journalists or staff writers
- Shorter articles: usually provide broad overview of topics
- Usually include photos and ads
- Bibliography not usually provided
- Uses everyday language that is accessible to the average reader