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Tutt Library Research Guides
Evaluating Periodical Articles
Scholarly Articles have:
- Bibliography, footnotes, or endnotes. This provides evidence of the research that was conducted to produce the article.
- Written by expert(s) in the field. Usually there is information that describes the author’s credentials and current position.
- Published by Associations, Research Institutes, University Presses.
- “Peer reviewed.” Refers to the policy of experts in the field examining journal articles before acceptance for publication.
- Written in the jargon of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students.)
- Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs
Popular Magazines on the other hand:
- No footnotes or references.
- Written by journalists who are usually not experts in the field.
- Easy to read. Intended for lay audience. Informative and entertaining.
- Short articles.
- Many advertisements throughout the magazine.
- Glossy, slick. Illustrated with graphics and photos.
- Unsigned articles.
These criteria apply to all periodicals (online or print).
Scholarly v. Popular
Video produced by Wayne State University Libraries.
Consult a variety of fields related to your topic.
Pay attention to biases in your sources!
Remember to distinguish between scholarly (peer-reviewed) and popular articles.
While it is often appropriate for background information and starting research, keep in mind what Wikipedia founder Jimmie Wales said:
“For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.”
More Information: See Tutt Library's Scholarly vs. Popular page.
Tutt Library, Colorado College Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: tuttref@ColoradoCollege.edu