Cerro Coso Community College

Library Books

Evaluating Periodicals

Scholarly Journal

Content (Accuracy)
Findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication; In-depth accounts of original findings.
Author (Authority)
Author's credentials are provided. Author is usually a scholar or specialist in the field.
Audience (Coverage)
Students, scholars, and researchers.
Language (Coverage)
Specialized terminology of the field; requires expertise in subject area.
Graphics (Coverage)
Very few advertisements and photos. Many charts, graphs, tables.
Layout & Organization (Currency)
Structured; includes the article abstract, goals, objectives, methodology, results, discussion, and bibliography.
Accountability (Objectivity)
Articles evaluated by peer-reviewers who are experts in the field; content, format, and style are edited.
References (Objectivity)
Required. Facts and quotes are verifiable.
Paging
Page numbers are consecutive throughout volume.
Other Examples
Annals of Mathematics, JAMA, Almost anything with Journal in the title.

Popular Magazine

Content (Accuracy)
General information intended to entertain or inform; Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal opinion/bias.
Author (Authority)
Often, author is a journalist paid to write articles and may or may not be in an expert in the subject.
Audience (Coverage)
General Public.
Language (Coverage)
General-usage vocabulary; easily understandable to the general public.
Graphics (Coverage)
Lots of glossy advertisements and photos; some graphs and charts.
Layout & Organization (Currency)
Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or conclusion.
Accountability (Objectivity)
Content evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field.
References (Objectivity)
Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.
Paging
Each issue begins on page 1.
Other Examples
Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek.

Trade Magazine

Content (Accuracy)
Practical information for professionals working in the field or industry; Current news, trends, and products in a specific field or industry.
Author (Authority)
Author usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.
Audience (Coverage)
Professionals in the field.
Language (Coverage)
Not as technical as a scholarly journal but terminology is specialized.
Graphics (Coverage)
Photos; some graphics; advertisements aimed at professionals in the field.
Layout & Organization (Currency)
Informal; articles organized like a newsletter. Evidence drawn from personal experience.
Accountability (Objectivity)
Evaluated by editorial staff, not peer-reviewed.
References (Objectivity)
Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required.
Paging
Each issue begins on page 1.
Other Examples
PC World, Psychology Today, Architectural Record.

Based on Scholarly vs. Popular Materials by Amy VanScoy, NCSU Library.

Kern Community College District