Distinguishing characteristics of articles in scholarly journals

  • written by and for scholars and researchers (often containing highly technical language)
  • contain reports of research results published for the first time
  • usually cover a narrowly-defined topic
  • always signed; frequently written by more than one author
  • usually have a long, descriptive title
  • usually lengthy
  • common format: abstract, introduction and review of previous research, methods,
    results, discussion, conclusion, bibliography

Sample scholarly reference: Hudson, Valerie M. “Birth Order of World Leaders: An Exploratory Analysis of Effects on Personality and Behavior.” Political Psychology v. 11 (Sept. 1990) p. 583-601.

Distinguishing characteristics of articles in popular magazines

  • written for general public, usually by journalists
  • provide news, reports of research originally published elsewhere, and commentaries
  • often unsigned
  • often have “catchy” titles
  • frequently include eye-catching photos and graphics
  • usually no longer than a few pages
  • rarely include bibliographies

Sample popular reference: “Oldest Siblings Show Slight IQ Advantage.” Science News July 7, 2007 p. 14.