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Gerontology: Magazines vs Journals

This guide will help you locate resources such as websites, articles and books.


AARP Magazine image           The Current Issue

AARP Magazine (Popular Magazine)

Purpose: To entertain, market, or promote a viewpoint

  • Articles are written by staff or journalists
  • Articles are not peer reviewed
  • Reading level is basic
  • Articles are shorter on average
  • There are advertisements and glossy color photos.
  • Lacks references or works cited lists

The Journals of Gerontology
 (Scholarly Journal)

Purpose: To contribute to the evolving body of knowledge within an academic discipline

  • Articles are written by experts that have credentials
  • Articles are peer reviewed
  • Reading level is advanced
  • Longer more structured articles
  • Has a list of references, citations or bibliography at the end of each article

Evaluate These Articles

Click on the links below for Articles 1 and 2. Using the tips above, evaluate each article. Which article is from a popular magazine?

Cast your vote.

Evaluate These Articles
Article 1: 3 votes (37.5%)
Article 2: 5 votes (62.5%)
Total Votes: 8

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Sara Klink
She, Her, Hers
Stark State College
North Canton, Ohio
330-494-6170 Ext: 5449 or 4141 (to reach the library)

Scholarly or Not?

For some assignments, your instructor may require you to locate information in scholarly research journals or find information in the popular press, but how can you tell the difference between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine and where can you located these resources?

Some of the ways that a research journal typically differs from a popular magazine are:

Scholarly journal articles will indicate authors and their academic credentials; popular magazines may not always list the author.

Scholarly journal articles will include footnotes, end notes, bibliographies, or reference lists; popular magazine articles very rarely do this.

Scholarly journal articles focus on research; whereas, popular magazines focus on current events and topics of general interest, and include lots of ads for consumer products.

Scholarly journal articles are reviewed and fully critiqued by subject experts for research accuracy and importance before being published; popular magazines are not as rigorous.

Where you find publications for sale is a clue. It may be difficult to locate scholarly journals outside of research libraries; popular magazines are usually much easier to find.

Scholarly journals are usually published two or four times a year; popular magazines may be published daily, weekly, or monthly.