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Pre-Research Information: Articles (AL): Characteristics of Journals, Magazines & Newspapers

Guide created by Anne Anderson. Direct comments to

Scholarly, Trade and Popular Sources


Scholarly Journals

Trade Publications (Industry Magazines)

  Popular Newspapers and Magazines

   Appearance   (Cover)

New England Journal of Medicine coverPlain

Foodservice Equipment and Supplies cover  Exciting industry-specific scenes

People Magazine CoverFlashy

   Appearance   (Inside)

 Black and white with few pictures

Colorful with pictures

 Colorful with many pictures


To report research findings and build on the academic literature

To help professionals keep up with changes in their field (new products and trends)

To inform, entertain and grab your interest


Researchers and professionals


Regular people


Researchers, usually associated with a university

Professionals in a field (dentists, law enforcement officers and HVAC professionals)




Sounds “academic” and usually includes the word “journal”

- New England Journal of Medicine

- Journal of Clinical Child Psychology

Sounds “professional”.  May include the word “journal” in the title but does not look like a journal.

- Massage Today

- Community College Journal

- Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

Short title that usually sounds general or “fun”. 

- New York Times (newspaper)

- Washington Post (newspaper)

- People (magazine)

- Time (magazine)



Industry-specific ads (kitchen equipment, massage tables and dental hygiene instruments)

Flashy ads for products that would interest most people (cars, food and clothes)

Editing Process

Peer Review

Basic editing

Basic editing


Reliable, high-quality academic research

Easier to read and more current than scholarly journals

Newspapers are printed daily and magazines usually monthly


Peer review process takes time, so articles may take months to publish

Written by professionals in the field but does not go through an extensive editing process

Not very reliable and could include opinions.  Some newspapers and magazines are better than others (Wall Street Journal and National Enquirer)