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Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria: Introduction
 and Definitions

Cues for recognizing scholarly journals, news sources, popular magazines, and sensational periodicals. Click on the TABS below for tips on how to recognize these publications.

Introduction

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 and General Interest 
  • Popular
  • Sensational and Tabloid

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

 

Definitions

DEFINITIONS:

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 and tabloid articles intend to arouse strong curiosity, interest, or reaction. They do not follow the standards of journalistic ethics. 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, lists of more specific descriptive criteria follow on the next pages.

 

Permissions Information

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Reference Help

Michael Engle
106 Olin Library
(607) 255-1884
moe1@cornell.edu
Cornell University Library

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