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Evaluating Sources: Identify a Journal vs Magazine

Guide to understanding "scholarly sources" and evaluating academic quality.

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This video focuses on the differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines.

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Scholarly Journals and Articles

What Are the Differences?

Your professor has told you to use articles from scholarly or peer reviewed journals, but how do you know if a periodical is scholarly or popular? If you have a difficult time deciding, the following short guide may help.

Here are some helpful characteristics to look for in periodicals to determine academic quality:

To determine if an online journal article in a library database is scholarly, look for the following characteristics:

  • Research method is explained (see the abstract for a synopsis of the method).
  • Sources are cited (see the Bibliography / References for sources cited).
  • Authors are clearly identified.

Example of an online scholarly journal article record from a database:

TIP: If your instructor asks that you use scholarly or peer reviewed journals for your research, you may limit your search to Scholarly or Peer Reviewed journals only in several of HIU Library's research databases. In ProQuest databases, limit to "Scholarly" or "Peer Reviewed". In EBSCOhost databases, limit to "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals".

The term, "peer reviewed", refers to scholarly journals' policy of having articles examined by experts in the subject before the articles are accepted for publication.