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ENG 101 Information Literacy Program Dr. Bryzik

What is the difference between a popular source such as a magazine and a peer reviewed source / journal?


Magazines are written for the general public.  They often have a lot of advertisements in them.

Journals, on the other hand, are targeted to students or professionals working in a particular field.  The usually have very few ads in them.  The articles usually include bibliographies at at the end and the author's or authors' credentials (where they went to college and where they work) are given.

Sometimes a publication is peer-reviewed which means that all of the articles have been read and approved for publication by experts in the field.

Peer reviewed materials are excellent sources of information for scholarly papers!

Peer reviewed = Articles read & approved for publication by experts in the field


Experts = People with advanced degrees in the subject or who have worked in the field for many years


Popular sources such as magazines & newspapers


Peer reviewed materials

A peer reviewed source does not have to be a journal. Recently, the University of Michigan Press published A. D. Carson’s new i used to love to dream, a peer-reviewed hip-hop album. 


Examples of scholarly journals, trade magazines, and popular magazines


different between peer reviewed and popular magazi







plain cover

plain paper

black/white graphics & illustrations, many charts & graphs

pages consecutive throughout each volume

cover depicts industrial setting

glossy paper

pictures & illustrations in color

each issue starts with page 1

eye-catching cover

glossy paper

pictures & illustrations in color

each issue starts with page 1


students studying in a particular field, researchers, or professionals

members of a specific business, industry, or organization



research projects, methodology, & theory

articles written by contributing authors

industry trends, new products or techniques, & organizational news

articles written by staff or contributing authors

personalities, news, & general interest articles

articles written by staff, may be unsigned


peer reviewed/refereed

bibliographies included

editorial review

may have short bibliographies

editorial review

no bibliographies


very few or no ads

all or most of the ads are trade related

many ads throughout


Critical Care Nurse

Current Psychology

Journal of Small Business Management

Literature-Film Quarterly

Business Marketing

Dairy Farmer

Hospital Law Newsletter

Nursing Times


Ladies Home Journal

New York

Psychology Today

Sports Illustrated


The Peer Review Process Flowchart

The flowchart below is from an article cited under the chart. (Reading the article is not required!) 

The flowchart shows the long process required to obtain peer reviewed status. The article or item may be published online with the label "submitted for peer review" beforehand. 






Library Databases

Finding articles from peer reviewed journals and other sources is most efficiently accomplished by using the library databases. 

The library databases: 

  • Tell you where the information came from: a book, magazine, journal, newspaper, or video, for example.  
  • Tell you the original date of publication/production. This information is called the citation.  Be sure to write down or copy and paste all of the information listed below whenever you read, save, or print an article so that you will have it available for your Works Cited page.

More information about the MLA citation elements can be found on the MLA Citation Style library research guide. 

Why use the library databases instead of Google to find research materials for your papers or projects?

To save time finding full text scholarly sources of information!

The SC4 library subscribes to over 200 databases. The full list is available. You can search the databases individually or search them all at once by using the OneSearch box found on the library homepage. We will discuss using the OneSearch box later in this program.