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Biology Problem-Solving

Popular vs. Scholarly Journals


Popular Journals (Magazines and Newspapers)

Scholarly, Academic, or Peer-Reviewed Journals

Title May have magazine or popular words in the title (Entertainment Weekly, BusinessWoman); popular or catchy titles May have bulletin, journal, or review in the title (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Journal of Water Conservation); titles related to research or results, sometimes long and not catchy


Reporters, journalists, staff-written.

Researchers, scholars, professors in the field or specialty with university affiliations. Frequently multiple co-authors.


Inform, persuade, entertain with a variety of general interest topics in broad subject fields. Also geared to sell products through advertising.

To inform or report original research in a specific field to the rest of the scholarly world.


General public, uses simple language to meet minimum education levels.     

Researchers, experts, students in the field; readers are assumed to have a scholarly background

Availability Can be found on a newsstand or in a book store or library; can sometimes be found online without subscription access Not found on newsstand; requires subscription or library access

Writing Style and Vocabulary

Simple, accessible writing and vocabulary

Sophisticated, high-level writing; technical, discipline-specific vocabulary

Abstracts None Usually have an abstract at the beginning that summarizes the research


Not cited; no bibliography

Cited with footnotes or bibliography



Few to no ads; announcements for conferences, publications in the field


Photographs, glossy covers     

Plain covers; charts, tables, statistical data


Commercial, for-profit   

Professional society, university, or non-profit organization

Frequency of Publication Frequent; weekly, biweekly, or monthly Less frequent; monthly, quarterly, or semiannually



Yes, articles must meet rigorous standards and be reviewed by a panel of experts before being accepted for publication



New York Times

Sports Illustrated

The Economist

The Week

New England Journal of Medicine

International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

Journal of African American History

Pacific Historical Review

Modern Fiction Studies