Most, but not all, scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. Peer-reviewed journals are a subset of scholarly journals.
It is important to be able to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly," while magazine articles are usually considered "popular". Below are criteria to consider when differentiating between journals and magazines.
|Criteria||Scholarly Journal||Popular Magazine|
|Content (Accuracy)||In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication.||Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform.|
|Author (Authority)||Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.||Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise.|
|Audience (Coverage)||Scholars, researchers, and students.||General public; the interested non-specialist.|
|Language (Coverage)||Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.||Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.|
|Graphics (Coverage)||Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.||Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.|
|Layout & Organization (Currency)||Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.||Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.|
|Accountability (Objectivity)||Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers*or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.||Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.|
|References (Objectivity)||Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.||Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.|
|Paging||Page numbers are consecutive throughout the volume.||Each issue begins with page 1.|
|Other Examples||Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly, Almost anything with Journal in the title.||
Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, Cooking Light, Discover
Acknowledgement: This is adapted from one created by North Carolina State University Libraries. They, in turn, modified a document originally created by librarians at the University of Michigan Shapiro Undergraduate Library.
In Neuroscience, a primary source is a research article that is written by the person who performed the original scientific investigation. This is in contrast to review articles or articles published in newspapers or magazines that describe research that was performed by someone else.
To determine whether an article is a primary source, you must first, remember that the article must be written by the person who did the original scientific investigation. Then, look at the structure of the article. Primary sources are usually divided into sections such as: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion or Conclusions.