ANTH Courses: Finding Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

How to Recognize What is NOT a Scholarly Journal

What is not Considered Scholarly?

Popular Magazines or Newspapers such as the ones shown in the image below CAN be good sources for research projects. However, they are NOT considered scholarly journals!

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This image shows the covers of some popular publications that are NOT scholarly: Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Psychology Today, Los Angeles Times, Christianity Today, Utne Reader

Important information about popular sources
  • Popular magazines and journals are written for the general public, not for an academic audience
  • Articles are shorter and use vocabulary appropriate for the general public
  • Illustrations are flashy and eye-catching
  • Advertisements are common
  • Authors are usually paid journalists and articles are not reviewed or approved by subject experts

As shown in the image below...

  • Background information is brief
  • Popular or news stories are also brief, each point is touched on with little depth
  • Citations are absent or incomplete, as shown in this example article.

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this image is of a short news article, with arrows and boxes of info showing that the background info offered is short, that there are just popular or new stories talked about in little depth, and few or no citations in the article.

Book reviews and opinion editorials are NOT scholarly

The image below shows a book review and outlines important aspects or parts that can help you evaluate the source

  1. The title of the book being reviewed in this article is called "Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech" and it is written by Patti Duncan. The name, ISBN, cost of the book, and other info to help you find the book is listed before the start of the article's text. 
  2. The author is listed as Deborah M. Mix - she wrote the review (like an opinion piece) about the book "Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech"
  3. She got the review published in the scholarly journal called "Modern Fiction Studies"
  4. Even though Deborah's article is published in a scholarly journal the article itself is not considered a scholarly journal article, since it is simply a review based on someone's opinion. It differs greatly from the research-centered articles that are also housed in the journal.

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(Description of the linked article Tell this Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech) 1.	Tell this Silence is the name of a published book written by Patti Duncan 2.	Deborah M. Mix wrote a review (like an opinion piece) about this book 3.	She got that review published in the scholarly journal Modern Fiction Studies. 4.	Even though Deborah’s review article is published in a scholarly journal…the article itself is NOT considered a scholarly journal, since it is simply a review based on someone’s opinion

Below, you can click on the link to access the full article where you can see the original PDF of the article as it appeared in print inside the journal.

Video: How Library Stuff Works: Scholarly vs Popular Sources

Source: "How Library Stuff Works: Scholarly vs. Popular Sources" by McMaster Libraries, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn about the differences between scholarly and popular sources and how to identify them when researching your topic.