The information below can help you understand the differences between scholarly journals, professional/trade journals, and popular periodicals.
|Criteria||Scholarly Journals||Professional/Trade Journals||Popular Periodicals/ Magazines|
|Audience||Researchers and experts||Members of a trade or profession||The general public|
|Author||Researchers and experts||Staff writers and experts in the field||Staff writers, although many articles are unsigned|
|References (Sources cited)||Includes reference lists and bibliography. All quotes and facts are documented.||Reference lists sometimes included.||References rarely included.|
|Purpose||To disseminate research findings||To publicize current topics in the field and professional issues||To disseminate general information or to entertain|
|Content||Detailed research reports and methodologies||Trends, standards, and new technologies in the field||General interest stories and news; may include personal narrative and opinions|
|Language||Jargon that assumes expertise in the field||Jargon that assumes expertise in the field||Language that requires no expertise|
|Publisher||Associations or universities||Associations||Commercial organizations|
|Layout||Highly structured organization; includes abstract, bibliography, charts or graphs||Structured organization; usually includes abstract, bibliography, 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; Farm Industry News||Time; Newsweek; Science News|
When using information from another source you must give credit to the original author or you are plagiarizing. You give credit by citing the source. Make sure your citation contains everything you would need to backtrack and find the information again. It is best to pick one citation style and be consistent.
When working on extensive research projects, you will need to collect, organize and format all those citations!
The following tools are appropriate to use at Penn State. They all allow you to store and search for your references, as well as link with MS Word to easily create in-text citations and bibliographies.