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.
For more detailed information on article types and evaluating sources, see our Evaluating Information guide.