Writing Resources

Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Journal Articles

This handout is available for download in DOCX format and PDF format.


Scholarly Journal Articles

  • Purpose: to inform, report, or make original research available to other researchers.
  • Authors/Publishers: written by scholars or researchers in the field. Articles are peer reviewed by other experts in the field before being published by a professional organization.
  • Sources: cite sources; include extensive documentation to previously published research (footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, etc.)
  • Language: use terminology, jargon, and the language of the discipline covered.
  • Format: have grave, serious formats. May contain graphs and charts to illustrate concepts.
  • Examples: Annals of Microbiology, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Physiology

Non-Scholarly Journal Articles (News/General Interest)

  • Purpose: to provide general information to a well educated, general audience.
  • Authors/Publishers: written by staff, free-lance, or scholarly writers. Articles are not peer reviewed; editorial team makes all content decisions before publication for profit.
  • Sources: Occasionally cite sources, but not as a rule.
  • Language: geared to any educated, non-specialist audience; unfamiliar terms often defined.
  • Format: are attractive in appearance. Include photos and graphics to enhance visual appeal.
  • Examples: Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Fortune, Psychology Today

Popular Magazines

  • Purpose: to entertain or persuade, to sell products or services.
  • Authors/Publishers: written by staff or free-lance writers for a broad-based audience. Articles are not peer reviewed. They are published by commercial enterprises for profit.
  • Sources: rarely cite sources. Original sources may be obscure.
  • Language: use simple language for broad accessibility. Articles are short, with little depth.
  • Format: are generally glossy with an attractive format. Contain photos, illustrations, and drawings to enhance publication's image.
  • Examples: Better Homes and Gardens, GQ, Glamour, People Weekly, Sports Illustrated

Credit: Adapted from The College of New Jersey, https://libguides.tcnj.edu/c.php?g=333347&p=2241041 and Elissa Jacobs, 2020.