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Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines
When doing research, it is useful to know what the different classifications for publications mean.
A publication is considered scholarly if it is authored by academics for a target audience that is mainly academic. The intent of the publication must be to report on or support research needs as well as advance one's knowledge on a topic or theory in one discipline or academic field. The publication will likely be peer reviewed or refereed by external reviewers. The publisher should be a professional association or an academic press with academic goals and missions.
A publication is considered to be peer-reviewed (or refereed) if its articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (people who are experts in the same subject area.) Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer reviewed. Some trade publications are actually peer reviewed.
Adapted from Proquests’s “Scholarly Journals, Trade Publications, and Popular Magazines.” http://training.proquest.com/trc/training/en/peervsscholarly.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2010
Carnegie Vincent Library's video on the differences between popular and scholarly sources