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How to Search for Articles: Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

This guide will help you learn how to find peer-reviewed articles using the library's databases.

Journals or Google

Scholarly journals are a great place to look for studies, facts, current research, and/or ideas.

However, scholarly articles is just one piece of the research puzzle.

Don't forget to use other resources such as,

  • Encyclopedias
  • Books
  • Trade Magazines
  • Data Sets/ Statistics
  • Government Websites

When reseaching consult multiple sources. Don't rely exclusively on Google or just on scholary journals.

Need help with researching? Just ask a MCNY librarian; we are to help you succeed.

Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines

  How are Scholarly Journals Different from Popular Magazines?



Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

Content (Accuracy)

In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication

Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform.

Author (Authority)

Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.

Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise.

Audience (Coverage)

Scholars, researchers, and students

General public; the interested non-specialist.

Language (Coverage)

Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.

Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.

Graphics (Coverage)

Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.

Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.

Layout & Organization (Currency)

Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.

Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.

Accountability (Objectivity)

Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.

Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.

References (Objectivity)

Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.

Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.

This information was adapted from: