Q. What's the difference between a scholarly journal, a professional journal, a peer reviewed journal, and a magazine?


A scholarly journal is also called an academic journal.  It is a periodical written by academic experts in various subject areas.   A "peer review" journal is a subset within scholarly journals in which the articles submitted are reviewed by researchers in the same discipline to determine if the article merits publication.  This review process helps to ensure that only excellent and high-quality research articles are published. All authors who publish in the scholarly literature MUST cite sources they used in the writing of the article, so you will find a section at the end named variously as bibliography, sources cited, works cited, or footnotes.

A professional (sometimes called a trade) journal is a journal written for people who work in a certain field.  Grocers, resturant owners, doctors, librarians, teachers, nurses, and other professionals need information to help them conduct their jobs and profession more efficiently. Trade journals are half way between scholarly journals and magazines: they require some background knowledge but the articles are not scholarly in nature.  They address workplace issues, provide tips on better work performance, and other work-related information.  The articles that are submitted are reviewed by professional editors.

Magazines contain articles written by journalists and professional writers.  They may require subject expertise, but the writers need to convey the information for a wide audience. Magazines entertain as much as they inform.  They do not include a bibliography, references, sources cited, or footnotes, which is an easy way to distinguish them from scholarly journals. Many magazines are known for the reliability of their information.  Many magazines are also known to market to a specific viewpoint or interest group.  Ask your professor for their opinion about the content of the magazine articles you find. 

The best method to find reliable journals, magazines, and trade journal resources is by using the LHU Libraries' databases

  • Last Updated Dec 06, 2016
  • Views 11380
  • Answered By Rick Lilla

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