The articles found in many scholarly journals go through a "peer-review" process. In other words, the articles are checked by academics and other experts. The information is therefore reliable. As well as containing scholarly information, journal articles can include reports and/or reviews of current research and topic-specific information.
Use scholarly journals when you need original research on a topic; articles and essays written by scholars or subject experts; factual documented information to reinforce a position; or references lists that point you to other relevant research. Scholarly journals take less time to publish than books, but the peer-review process can be lengthy.
Popular articles found in magazines are often written by journalist or professional writers for a general audience. They tend to be shorter than scholarly journal articles and rarely give full citations for sources. Popular articles from magazines are helpful if you want background on a topic that is new to you or very current information
What kind of information do you need? If you are writing for a class assignment, you may be required to use peer-reviewed ("refereed") or scholarly sources. In any case, you should always look for sources that are authoritative. For more detailed help with evaluating your sources, see our Evaluating Information Guide.
Scholarly Checklist--Look for:
Authoritative--A source can have authority even if it isn't scholarly.
Other Criteria-- these are not definitive, but worthy of consideration: