Determine if an Article is Scholarly: How to Determine if an Article is Scholarly

Learn how to differentiate between popular and scholarly articles and how to find peer reviewed or refereed journal articles.
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What is a periodical?

A periodical is a publication that is published at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, daily, etc.). There are different types of periodicals, each with their own characteristics and intended audiences. The chart below describes some of the most common types of periodicals.

        Type           Description Example
  • a serial publication printed and distributed daily or weekly
  • contains news, opinions, advertising, and items of general interest
  • available in both print and online formats
A picture of NSU's campus on the cover of the school's newspaper
  • commercial publications
  • intended for a general audience
  • purpose is to inform and/or entertain
  • contains advertisements
  • available in both print and online formats 
A picture of Mark Zuckerberg on the cover of Newsweek magazine
  • focuses more on product and business information
  • available in both print and online formats 
A picture of businessmen on the cover of Ad Week magazine
  • specialized, scholarly publications
  • articles are written by authorities in the field
  • usually include bibliographies
  • available in both print and online formats 
The text-only cover of the Journal of Personality to show that scholarly journal covers do not include images

Tip: If you need to find a scholarly article on a topic, you should look in an academic journal. 

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

Not all scholarly articles are considered peer-reviewed! A peer-reviewed (or refereed) journal contains scholarly articles that have been reviewed by a panel of scholars/experts in a particular discipline before being accepted for publication.

What's the connection between library databases, periodicals, and articles?

Library databases provide electronic access to articles published in periodicals.

  • You can search for articles within a database by topic keywords, author, title, and other criteria.
  • Different databases provide access to different types of articles. Read the database's description to get an idea of its content.


Finding Articles

Popular, Trade, and Scholarly Periodicals