Professors will often ask you to find articles that are scholarly. What does that mean? Journal articles are usually "scholarly" while magazine articles are "popular". Trade publications are specific publications that are targeted to people who work in specific industries for example: the advertising business.
|Criteria||Scholarly Journal||Trade Publication||Popular Magazine|
|Sample First Page of Article|
|Title of Article||"Gender, toys and learning"||"Toy Story"||"The Truth About Boys and Girls"|
|Title of Publication||Oxford Review of Education||Professional Engineering||Baby Talk|
|Purpose of Publication||"Articles and review articles on the theory and practice of education from scholars throughout the world in disciplines including philosophy, political science, economics, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology and medicine."||"Addresses the news & technology that impacts on the business & careers of professional engineers in all sectors of engineering & manufacturing."||"Publishes articles on a mix of news and advice on the challenges of new motherhood from experts and moms who "tell it like it is.""|
|Audience||Scholars and researchers in the particular field of study.||People in the business||General audience.|
|Authors||Scholars and researchers (generally not paid).||Paid staff writers, professionals and vendors in the field.||Paid journalists, staff writers and freelance writers.|
|Editors||Journal editors and peer reviewers.||Staff editors.||Staff editors.|
|Works Cited/References||Almost always.||Sometimes.||Rarely.|
Table adapted from a table created by NCSU Libraries.
Graphic adapted from UC San Diego: http://ucsd.libguides.com/MCWP/sources
How do I know if a journal is important and respected in its field?
Most scholars and professors are familiar with the top journals in their fields but as a beginning researcher it is hard to know which journals are important. To find respected journals in a field, try the following:
Impact factor measures the number of articles cited from a journal in a particular year. The assumption is that a journal which has many articles cited in other research is a journal in which important or highly valued research is being published.
The impact factor is just one way to measure the importance of a journal and some scholars feel too much weight has been given to this measurement. Use cautiously and in conjunction with other measurements.
There are two algorithms for measuring impact Factor ISI's Impact Factor and the Eigenfactor. Both can be found utilizing the Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.