|Criteria||Scholarly Journals||Professional/Trade Journals||Popular Periodicals/Magazines|
|Audience||Researchers and experts (e.g., scientists, professors, and scholars)||Members of a profession (e.g., stock brokers, restaurant managers, advertising professionals)||The general public|
|Author||Researchers and experts (e.g., scientists, professors, and scholars)||General writers, journalists, and experts in the field||General writers and journalists (sometimes articles are unsigned)|
|Includes reference lists and bibliography. All quotes and facts are documented.||Reference lists sometimes included.||References rarely included.|
|Purpose||To communicate the latest research findings||To publish news, current topics, and professional issues in a profession||To publish general information or to entertain|
|Content||Detailed research reports, conceptual articles, experimental results||Trends, standards, and new technologies in the profession||General interest stories and news; may include personal narrative and opinions|
|Language||High level vocabulary and terminology that assumes expertise in the field||Terminology that assumes knowledge of the profession||Language that requires no expertise|
|Publisher||Scholarly Associations, colleges, and universities (e.g., International Communication Association, Harvard University)||Professional and Trade Associations (e.g. National Restaurant Association)||Commercial organizations and businesses (e.g., WarnerMedia, McClatchy, News Corp)|
|Layout||Highly structured organization; including an abstract, review of the literature consulted, a bibliography, etc.||Some structured organization; sometimes with charts or graphs||Informal organization: eye-catching type and format; includes illustrations or photographs|
|Examples||Journal of the American Medical Association; Political Science Quarterly||Hospital Business Week; Real Estate Weekly News; Advertising Age||Time; Newsweek; Rolling Stone|
A scholarly publication is considered "peer reviewed" (or "refereed") if it is examined by other scholars in the same field ("peers") before getting published. It usually works like this:
WHY GO TO ALL THIS TROUBLE? Although not a perfect system by any means, peer review ensures that there is some level of consensus among other scholars before an article is published. Readers of peer reviewed journals know that articles were not chosen for sensationalism, but because of the significance and validity of the work.
A book would be considered scholarly if it shares the same traits as scholarly journal articles in the above table. Often scholarly books come from what are called "university presses." University presses are usually non-profit publishing operations that prioritize publishing academic research that is academically significant rather than potentially profitable. Examples of university presses include Oxford University Press, Harvard University Press, and our very own Penn State University Press. University presses usually have the word "university" in the name. If you are unsure about whether a publisher is a university press, look them up online and see if they are associated with an academic institution. Generally speaking, books published by university presses are understood to have some level of peer review.
Book chapters are section of a book, sometimes referred to as an "edited volume" or an "anthology." These books will have an editor, who selects scholars to write individual chapters in the book. Edited volumes can come from university presses or commercial publishers who specialize in scholarly works, e.g., Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis. They are usually considered scholarly, but not necessarily peer-reviewed.
Publications that don't fit neatly into traditional categories are sometimes called "grey literature." Grey literature is generally considered scholarly in terms of authorship, audience, and intent. However, it is not peer reviewed. Examples of grey literature include: