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Identifying Scholarly Journals

How to recognize a scholarly journal from a trade magazine or a popular magazine

Popular Magazines

Popular periodicals come in many formats, although they are often somewhat slick and attractive in appearance and contain lots of graphics (photographs, drawings, etc.).

These publications rarely, if ever, cite sources. Information published in such journals is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure.

Articles are usually very short, written in simple language and are designed to meet a minimal education level. There is generally little depth to the content of these articles.

The main purpose of popular periodicals is to entertain the reader, to sell products (their own or their advertisers), and/or to promote a viewpoint.

Examples of Popular Magazines

Consumer Reports

Good Housekeeping

Readers Digest

Sports Illustrated


People Weekly

Rolling Stone


Rolling Stone

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