Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

What is a Professional Journal?

What is a Professional Journal?

Scholarly Periodicals/Journals 

Scholarly journals are made up of many scholarly articles. 

  • Scholarly journals always cite their sources in either footnotes or bibliographies. 
  • Articles are written by scholars within specific disciplines.
  • The language used is specific to the discipline covered. It assumes some discipline knowledge on the part of the reader.
  • The primary purpose is to report on original research, making it available to the rest of the scholars within a discipline.
  • Many are published by professional associations or universities

 Examples of Scholarly Journals

  • American Economic Review
  • JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Journal of Social Work Education
  • Journal of Labor Research

Non-Scholarly Periodicals

Magazines and newspapers are considered non-scholarly periodicals. They are written to entertain the public and are produced at a much faster rate than academic journals.

  •  News and general interest periodicals may or may not cite sources used in articles
  •  Articles may be written by a variety of staff members, scholars, or freelance writers.
  •  The language is geared to interested audiences. No discipline knowledge is assumed.
  •  These periodicals are generally produced by commercial publishers

    Examples of Substantive News or General Interest Periodicals

  • Economist
  • National Geographic
  • Scientific American
  • Forbes
  • Popular Periodicals

Popular Periodicals

Popular periodicals are published in many formats. They tend to be slick with lots of graphics including photographs, and drawings.

  •  These publications rarely cite sources of information. Information frequently is second or third hand.
  •   Articles tend to be very short with little depth of content and typically written in simple language.
  •   Articles are written by staff members or freelance writers.

    The primary purpose of popular periodicals is entertainment, selling products, and/or promotion of a particular viewpoint. 

 Examples of Popular Periodicals

  • Sports Illustrated
  • Newsweek
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Ebony 


Adapted from the Wallace Library, Rochester Institute of Technology