Your research will begin with a literature review, which is a synthesis of published scholarly work directly related to your topic. A literature review provides a background or foundation to your readers for your topic, establishing a common body of knowledge before moving in your specific research idea.
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|