Your instructor has asked you to find an article in a scholarly (or professional or refereed or peer-reviewed) journal. Scholarly journals differ from popular magazines and trade journals/magazines in a number of ways. (See "Comparison Chart" below.) A primary difference between scholarly journals and other types of journals and magazines is that articles in these journals undergo a "peer review" process before they are published. What does this mean?
The following characteristics can help you distinguish between these and two other types of periodicals: popular magazines and trade publications. If in doubt, ask your teacher or a librarian for assistance.
|SCHOLARLY JOURNALS||POPULAR MAGAZINES||TRADE PUBLICATIONS|
|AUTHOR||Expert (scholar, professor, researcher, etc.) in field covered. Author is always named.||Journalist; nonprofessional or layperson. Sometimes author is not named.||Business or industry representative. Sometimes author is not named.|
|NOTES||Usually includes notes and/or bibliographic references.||Few or no notes or bibliographic references.||Few or no notes or bibliographic references.|
|CONTENTS||News and research (methodology, theory) from the field.||Current events; general interest.||Business or industry information (trends, products, techniques).|
|STYLE||Written for experts using technical language.||Journalistic; written for nonprofessional or layperson.||Written for people in the business or industry using technical language.|
|AUDIENCE||Scholars or researchers in the field.||General public.||People in the business or industry.|
|REVIEW||Usually reviewed by peer scholars (referees) not employed by the journal.||Reviewed by one or more editors employed by the magazine.||Reviewed by one or more editors employed by the magazine.|
|APPEARANCE||Plain; mostly print, sometimes with black and white figures, tables, graphs and/or charts.||Glossy, with many pictures in color.||Glossy, with many pictures in color.|
|ADS||Few or none; if any, usually for books or other professional materials.||Many, often in color.||Some, often in color.|
|FREQUENCY||Usually monthly or quarterly.||Usually weekly or monthly.||Usually weekly or monthly.|
|EXAMPLES||Developmental Psychology (published by the American Psychological Association).||Rolling Stone (commercially published).||
Monitor on Psychology (published by the American Psychological Association
Many of the Library's article databases allow you to limit the search results to peer-reviewed or scholarly articles by:
Keep in mind, even though a particular journal is peer reviewed, an individual item in that journal may not be. Some article types, e.g. news items, comments, editorials, may not have gone through the peer review process. Scholarly articles are generally several pages long.
From SDSU Libraries http://library.sdsu.edu/research-services/research-help/peer-reviewed-articles