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Japanese-American Incarceration: Journal Types

Supplemental library resources for research paper

Journal Types

Journals, also known as periodicals or magazines, generally fall under three categories:

  • Scholarly Journals
  • Trade Publications
  • Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journals are written by academics for academics. They are generally focused on a specific academic field or discipline. Their purpose is to advance scholarship in that field by publishing in-depth research studies. Most scholarly journals are also peer reviewed. Most databases will allow you to limit to scholarly/academic/peer-review.


Trade Publications, or professional magazines, are written by staff writers or practitioners in a given trade or profession. The intent is to share industry news, trends, and advances. They are also used to advertise trade specific products and job openings. Most trade publications do not undergo the peer review process; however, there are exceptions. 


Popular Magazines are written by journalists to inform or entertain the general public. They cover current events, hot topics, news items, etc. They are not peer reviewed. Magazine articles might contain references to scholarly research, but the articles themselves are not scholarly.


What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a scholarly form of review used by journals only for journal articles. After an article is sent to an academic journal, the editor sends it to several peer reviewers—typically scholars in the field—for evaluation.

These peer reviewers examine the paper's methodology, literature review, and conclusions. They note the existence of bias or other flaws.  The peer review process is applied to both primary articles (i.e. articles which present findings from original research) and to review articles that summarize primary research.]The peer reviewers may accept the article, require rewrites from the authors, or reject the article.


If you are asked to find articles that are peer-reviewed, what you are really looking for are articles from a peer-reviewed journal.


Peer review can also be called: 

  • blind peer review
  • scholarly peer review
  • refereeing or refereed

Search Tip:  Peer-reviewed journals may also contain items that are not peer reviewed, such as letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and book reviews. Even if you check the peer review limiter box, you still need to examine the items carefully to be sure they are articles.


Some differences between scholarly journals, trade publications, and popular magazines.

Info Scholarly Journals Trade Publications Popular Magazines
Purpose Report on research studies, advance knowledge Provide news, information on an industry Inform, entertain
Scope Narrow focus on one academic field Practical information for a specific industry Broad overview of topics
Content Research reports, methodology, theory Industry trends, products, association news News, opinions, general interest
Accountability     Peer reviewed Professional ethics Journalistic ethics
Audience Students, researchers, scholars Professionals, practitioners  General public, consumers
Title Often includes "journal", "review", or "bulletin" Often includes industry name Rarely includes "journal", "review", or "bulletin". 
Author(s) Experts, scholars, specialists Professionals, staff writers Journalists, staff writers
Writing Style Scholarly, technical Technical Informal, journalistic, conversational
Language Technical, assumes a scholarly background Industry jargon Easily accessible
Article Length Longer Moderate Varies
Organization Structured; abstract, literature review, methodology, etc No specific format or structure No specific format or structure
Abstract Yes Maybe No
Visuals Graphs, charts that support the research Pictures, illustrations Pictures, illustrations 
Bibliography Always cite sources, bibliography in accepted style May cite sources Rarely cite sources
Publisher Academic press, professional organization Professional, trade association Commercial publisher