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Comparing Magazines and Journals

Your instructor may require that you use a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal for your assignment. Peer-reviewed means that the articles have been screened by other scholars in the field who are qualified to judge its merit.

The table below presents a comparison of magazines and journals. These features are evident when you are viewing articles in PDF or in print. For articles displayed in HTML, please consult your instructor or a librarian. You will also find a description of the publication in question in the Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.

Feature

Magazine

Journal

Examples

Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, U.S. News & World Report

Animal Behaviour, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Science and Medicine

Advertising

Highly visible, glossy, and eye-catching

Advertising, if any, is usually professional and related to the field

Articles

Author(s) of the article are not always apparent

Author(s) pf the article always prominent

Audience

General public, hobbyists, or fans

Targeted audience of scholars or professionals

Authors

Authors are generalists, staff writers, or freelance writers

Authors are experts in their fields, either professional practitioners or university scholars

Citations

Sources of information are not fully cited and do not include a bibliography, footnotes, or endnotes

Sources are always fully cited, footnotes or endnotes are always provided

Format

Informal, conversational style is used to engage the audience

Formal structure often used, with a standard bibliographic citation style

Frequency

Usually weekly or monthly

Usually monthly or quarterly

Publisher

Published commercially

Often published by a university or professional association

Purpose

To provide news or entertainment

To present new research findings to professionals or scholars in their field of study

Review Policy

Articles selected by an editor or editorial board

Articles are "peer-reviewed," or selected by a panel of experts

Style

Common vernacular is used

Specialized or technical language of the field is used