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 & Definitions" page of the "Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria" guide.
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Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria  

Cues for recognizing scholarly journals, news sources, popular magazines, and sensational periodicals. Click on the PURPLE TABS for ways to recognize scholarly articles, substantive news sources and popular magazines.
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

 & Definitions
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Journals, magazines, and newspapers are important sources for up-to-date information in all disciplines.

With a collection as large and diverse as Cornell's it is often difficult to distinguish between the various levels of scholarship found in the collection.

In this guide we have divided the criteria for evaluating periodical literature into four categories:

  • Scholarly
  • News or General Interest 
  • Popular
  • Sensational

Click on the purple tabs to learn about each type of periodical.




Scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles are written by scholars or professionals who are experts in their fields. In the sciences and social sciences, they often publish research results.

Substantive news articles are reliable sources of information on events and issues of public concern.

Popular articles reflect the tastes of the general public and are often meant as entertainment.

Sensational intend to arouse strong curiosity, interest, or reaction. They are not factually accurate.

Keeping these definitions in mind, and realizing that none of the lines drawn between types of journals can ever be totally clear cut, the general criteria are as follows.


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