Identifying Periodical Literature: Popular, Professional And Scholarly

Below are some characteristics for identifying the three types of periodical literature: popular, professional, and scholarly. Ask a librarian for help if you are unsure how to categorize a particular title. Please note that not all of the criteria will apply to periodicals in each category.

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Scholarly literature may also be referred to as refereed or peer-reviewed literature. Some of the MdUSA databases that let you limit to peer-reviewed articles include ABI/Inform and Business and Company Resource Center.

 

Popular

Professional

Scholarly

Publisher

Typically commercial

Professional association

Typically a university or professional association

Audience

General

Members of association; other professionals in the field

Professors, researchers, and students

Authors

Not always identified; staff writers

Experts with significant knowledge in the subject area

Clearly defined; experts, scholars, and researchers

Writing Style

Informal; language is easy to understand

Semiformal; may use technical or specialized language

Formal; scholarly language

Article Type

Brief, nontechnical, and photographs and graphics are often provided

Varies; may be brief news of developments in the field or recent research

Research articles with tables, graphs, charts, or equations; peer-reviewed

Documentation

None

Typically provides suggested resources for more information

Footnotes or endnotes; bibliography

Examples

Newsweek, PC World, Washington Post

The American Statistician (TAS), Accounting Education News

Sloan Management Review, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, Modern Fiction Studies

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