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Library Research Methods: Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Periodicals

Types of Periodicals

When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles.  
Always check with your instructor for which types of articles are acceptable for your coursework.

  • Academic journal articles are referred to as "scholarly"  and the articles often undergo peer-review, that is they are evaluated by other experts before publication.
  • Magazine articles are considered "popular"
  • Trade or professional magazines or journals are written for professionals in an industry but are not strictly research related.  These are very important for members of the profession in order to keep up with industry news and trends. They may contain data or other information useful for research.

Review the chart below for general criteria to distinguish the different types of periodicals.

Scholary Journals v. Popular Magazines v. Trade Magazines



Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine Trade Magazine/Journal
Sample Cover Journal of Food Science and Technology Bon Appetit Food Management


Plain cover and plain paper

B/W graphics and illustrations, charts, etc.

Pages consecutive throughout each volume


Eye-catching cover and glossy paper

Pictures, photos and illustrations in full color

Each issue starts with page 1


Cover depicts industrial theme or setting; glossy paper

Pictures, photos and illustrations in color

Each issue starts with page 1




Academics and professionals


General public


Members of a specific business, industry or organization




Experts or specialists, professors or researchers. Unpaid.


Journalists, staff or freelance writers. may be unsigned. Paid.


Staff writers, industry specialists, or vendor representatives. Paid.


Editorial Review


Editorial board and peer reviewers. Unpaid.


Professional editors. Paid.


Professional editors. Paid.


References / Works Cited



Almost always







Reports of results of research projects, essays, methodology and theory, reviews of academic books

Popular culture, personalities, news, and general interest

Industry trends, new products or techniques, advice, first-hand reports of practical experiences, organizational news



few or none


moderate, most are trade related

  • American Journal of Enology and Viticulture
  • Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
  • Food Culture and Society
  • International Journal of Hospitality Management
  • Journal of Culinary Science & Technology
  • Gourmet
  • Prevention Magazine
  • Rolling Stone
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Vegetarian Times
  • Candy Industry
  • Chef Magazine
  • Fruit Gardener
  • National Provisioner
  • Nations Restaurant News
  • Wines & Vines
Sample Journal 
Journal of Food Science and Technology


Bon Appétit

Food Management

Stated Purpose 

"Publishes peer reviewed research papers in... science, technology, packaging, and engineering of foods.... Special emphasis is given to fundamental and applied research...."

"Offers 'life through the lens of food' — cooking in, dining out, culture, travel, entertainment, shopping and design."

"Provides ideas for foodservice directors, managers and chefs through coverage of industry issues and events, operational topics and food trends that affect the noncommercial foodservice industry."

Sample Article Title

"Optimization of the production of shrimp waste protein hydrolysate using microbial proteases adopting response surface methodology"

"In search of the perfect meatball"

"UCLA hospitals go to antibiotic-free meats"

Adapted from Scholarly and Popular Materials by NCSU Libraries and Popular Magazines vs. Trade Magazines 
vs. Scholarly Journals
by Colorado State University Libraries.

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