Q. How do I differentiate between a scholarly and popular periodical?


A scholarly (peer-reviewed) article must go through a review process before publication. During this review process, the article is evaluated (critiqued) by experts in the academic discipline.

Here are some tips for identifying a peer-reviewed article:

  • The source title in which the article is published may include the word "Journal" or perhaps the word "Research." 
  • The author's academic credentials/affiliation will typically be listed at the beginning of the article.
  • The article will typically include an abstract (summary) at the beginning.
  • The article will describe an original study (experiment) or will provide a literature review that evaluates research by other scholars.
  • A list of cited works or references will be provided at the end of the article. This list is often labeled with the term "References" or "Works Cited."

Please Note:  Many of the library's databases provide the option to limit your search to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles. Although this limit option will limit the search results to articles published in scholarly/peer-reviewed journals, the results may also include letters to the editor, editorials, and book reviews, all of which have not gone through a peer-review process.

See this research guide that includes a video on Scholarly Vs. Popular Periodicals.


  • Last Updated Jul 10, 2017
  • Views 18
  • Answered By NJIT Librarians

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