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ENG 1320: College Writing II: Scholarly or Not?


Periodicals are any type of published material that is published periodically with new content each time.

Popular periodicals are the kind you would buy to read for fun. Depending on the topic they may have some value for research, but they are usually not the best resource for academic research.

Scholarly periodicals are written for and by people who work in academics - scholars like you. This type of article is best suited for your research because it is reliable and authoritative.


There are MANY types of websites. 

Websites come in all varieties, so it takes a lot of work on your part to find out if a website's information is appropriate for your coursework.  See the box on the far right for how to assess a website.

Types of Periodicals

  Scholarly journals Popular magazines
  A photograph showing a stack of academic journals. A photograph showing a stack of popular magazines.
Authors Articles are written by authorities in the field Articles are usually written by professional writers or journalists
Sources Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies There are rarely bibliographies
Audience Aimed at scholarly readers (researchers, professors, or students) Aimed at general population
Publisher Often published by academic or association presses Published by commercial (for profit) presses
Advertisements Contains few to no advertisements Contain numerous advertisements
Peer-review? Most articles are reviewed by an author’s peers before publication to ensure high quality Rare
Article scope Journals usually have a narrow subject focus, and articles often include original research, reviews, or essays Used to inform, update, or introduce a topic to a general reader
Graphics Illustrations often consist of charts or graphs Numerous colorful illustrations and/or photographs are usually present
Language Articles use jargon of the discipline Language is geared to general population; no special knowledge is required
Examples American Journal of Botany, The Academy of Management Journal, Social Research Runner's World, Ebony, Time

Check publication titles in Ulrich's

If you have a journal and you need to check if it is peer reviewed, use the Ulrich's Periodical Directory database.

Two screenshots of the Ulrichs Web database. The screenshot on the left shows a search for the Peabody Journal of Education. The screenshot on the right shows information about the journal with the line "Refereed: Yes" highlighted.

Enter the name of the journal in the search bar, then look for the little referee's jersey icon or the line that says "Refereed: Yes." "Refereed" is just another way of saying "peer reviewed," so if you see either or both of those things, your journal is peer reviewed.

If you don't see the icon or if the description of the journal says "Refereed: No," that journal is not peer reviewed.

Website Evaluation

CRAAP test for websites:

Answer these questions to evaluate a website.

  • Currency: look for a date - is it current? 
  • Relevance: does it meet my research needs?  Is it college-level?
  • Authority: who created/authored/published/sponsored this site?  What type of authority does the author have?
  • Accuracy: is the information verifiable?  Has it been reviewed by others?  Do they cite their sources?
  • Purpose: why was this website written?  What are the biases?  What is the ending of the url (.gov, .edu, .com, .org) tell you?