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Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

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how to tell the difference

Scholarly Journals
Popular Magazines
Author: Authors are identified. They are experts in their field. Their institutional affiliation and/or credentials are noted.Author: Authors may not be identified. They are usually generalists rather than experts. Their role is more of a "reporter" than a "researcher."
Bibliography: A bibliography or list of works cited is included to provide the sources of background information or facts used in the article.Bibliography: Popular articles usually do not contain bibliographies or cite their sources of information.
Audience: Articles are intended to be read by other experts in the field and other scholars.Audience: Intended for general readers.
Formatting: Standard styles for citations and reference are used. These may be APA, MLA, or others.Formatting: Various formats may be used (if at all) and are often unstructured.
Language: The technical language (jargon) of a specific discipline is used and assumed to be understood by other scholars in the field.Language: Articles are written for the general public, and technical language is avoided.
Illustrations: Illustrations, tables, charts, etc. are used to support the text. The source is cited and text references are used.Illustrations: Graphic material is often used for marketing appeal rather than as an integral part of the text.
Indexing: Scholarly journals are usually indexed in databases related to the discipline. These indexes use the language and bibliographic formats of the discipline.Indexing: Popular magazines are usually indexed in more general databases which cover all fields and interests rather than focusing on a particular discipline.
Methodology: Authors clearly identify their subject area and research methodology.Methodology: The purpose of popular articles is usually to convey general information for a broad population.
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