- Distinguishing among Scholarly, Popular, and Trade Journals
- Locating a Scholarly or Professional Journal
- Using Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory to Identify Scholarly Journals
Your professor may ask you to use scholarly, peer reviewed, or refereed journals in your research paper, and you are not certain about how to find them.
Below are some characteristics for identifying the three types of periodical literature: scholarly/professional, popular, and trade. Ask a librarian for help if you are unsure how to categorize a particular title. Please note that not all of the criteria will apply to periodicals in each category.
For information on how to find articles, go to the guide on how to Find Articles.
|Article Type||In-depth research articles, often peer-reviewed; usually includes an abstract; may be brief news of developments in the field or recent research, academic book reviews||Brief, nontechnical, current events, news; quick facts; short interviews, brief book reviews, ads||Product reviews; industry statistics; new publications; patents|
|Purpose||To provide information about, report, or present original research or experiments||To provide general information to, entertain, or persuade the general public||To provide news or information to practitioners in an industry or trade|
|Authors||Clearly defined; experts with significant knowledge in the subject area, scholars, and researchers||Not always identified; staff writers||Not always identified; staff writers, practitioners in the trade|
|Audience||Professors, researchers, and students, members of association; other professionals in the field||General||Intended for those with an interest in a specific industry or trade|
|Publisher||Typically a university or professional association||Typically commercial||Typically commercial|
|Writing Style||Formal or semiformal; scholarly language; may use technical or specialized language||Informal; language is easy to understand||Informal; may use technical or specialized language|
|Documentation||Footnotes or endnotes; bibliography; suggested resources for more information||None||Suggested resources for more information, sometimes a brief bibliography|
|May include tables, graphs, charts, or equations to support the research||Often includes glossy photographs, ads, images||May include black & white or color images, graphs, or charts|
|Examples||Sloan Management Review, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, Journal of Computer Information Systems, Journal of American History||Time, Newsweek, Business Week, Psychology Today, PC World, Washington Post||Association Management, People Management, Federal Computer Week, Food Technology, Workforce
Once you understand what a scholarly or professional journal is, where should you search for it? You can find some full text scholarly journals on the public access Web. However, since using a Web search engine can produce many thousands of results that need to be evaluated or may only be available to you for a fee, it is better first to try a search in the library databases. Some databases offer two main options for limiting your search to scholarly journals:
- You can limit your search on the basic search screen
- You can select a link or tab to scholarly articles after you conduct your basic search (not all the databases allow this option)
This example of a search in Academic Search Premier is typical of searches in databases that offer both options.
Example: A basic search, using the search statement: stem cell and research and ethics, limited to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals:
retrieves a list of results limited to scholarly journals:
In databases that allow the second option, you may want to wait to limit your search to scholarly journals until you retrieve the result list, which will be divided into the different types of resources. The same search as above yields the following results when you do not limit your search in the beginning:
While you retrieve more results with this search (246 here vs. 136 in the first search), this search gives you the option of clicking on each of the links: scholarly journals or magazines to decide which of the different types of materials will be appropriate for your research. You may want some popular magazine articles to provide the most up-to-date information on your topic.
What if you have evaluated an article as scholarly, but you want to be absolutely certain before you use it. In that case you can check Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, a UMUC subscription database, to find out whether the journal is scholarly.
- To access Ulrich's go to the Research Databases page. In the alphabetical list of databases, click on U and then on Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
- If prompted, enter your last name and either your 14-digit barcode number or your EMPLID. Click on login.
The initial search screen will look like this:
After you click on submit, you will retrieve a screen like the following:
The icon of the referee's shirt indicates that the journal is peer-reviewed. If the icon is not present, the journal is not peer-reviewed.
Discrepancies between database descriptions and Ulrich's results may vary. Please Ask a Librarian if you have any questions.