What are Scholarly Journals?

Scholarly journals are a type of periodical (also called serial), which are publications printed in intervals that continue to be printed for an indefinite period of time.

Magazines and newspapers are also types of periodicals. For college research projects, your professors may often require you to use scholarly journals. The table below outlines some of the characteristics of scholarly journals and the differences between them and magazines.

Scholarly journals are often referred to as refereed or peer-reviewed journals. Refereed journals contain articles that are evaluated by at least one subject expert in addition to the editor before being accepted for publication. Before accepting a peer-reviewed journal for publication, editors solicit the impartial opinions of several subject experts from the research and academic community.

Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines

Characteristic Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines
Purpose Publish articles written by scholars and researchers. Journals are often published by professional associations. Articles in journals usually include bibliographies. Publish articles written for a general audience. Articles in magazines rarely include bibliographies.
Language Style/Audience (Readers) Written in technical language for professors, researchers, and students in a particular field. Written in simple, non-technical language for the general public.
Authors The author is usually an expert or specialist in the field; name and credentials (degrees, etc.) are always provided. The author is usually a professional writer on the staff of the magazine or a journalist; names may not be given.
Length/Types of Information Usually longer articles that present original research and original interpretation of data or in-depth analysis of topics. Usually shorter articles, with general facts about a subject.
Bibliography (Works Cited) A bibliography and/or footnotes are always present to credit and document sources of information used in the article. Usually no formal bibliography, although names of reports and other sources may be identified in the text of the article.
Editors/Review of Articles Scholarly articles are usually reviewed and evaluated by a board of experts ("editorial board") in the field. This is known as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed." Most Easley Library databases allow you to limit your search to "peer-reviewed" journals. Articles are evaluated by editors on staff.
Illustrations/Ads Graphs, maps, statistics, or photographs that support the articles. Usually few ads. Usually glossy or color photographs and many ads.
Examples Business Ethics Quarterly, American Journal of Health Behavior, Journal of Counseling Psychology, African Studies Quarterly, Chaucer Review, Journal of Supercomputing Business Week, Prevention, Psychology Today, Black Enterprise, Rolling Stone, Time