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Last Updated: Jan 8, 2018 URL: http://libguides.eosc.edu/lib101 Print Guide RSS Updates

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What Is A Scholarly Journal?

Distinguishing scholarly from non-scholarly periodicals (articles and papers):


Journals and magazines are important sources for up-to-date information in all disciplines. In this guide we have divided periodical literature into four categories:

  • Scholarly
  • Substantive news or general interest
  • Popular
  • Sensational


  • Scholarly journals generally have a sober, serious look. They often contain many graphs and charts but few glossy pages or exciting pictures.
  • Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies.
  • Articles are written by a scholar or someone who has done research in the field.
  • The language of scholarly journals is that of the discipline covered. It assumes some scholarly background on the part of the reader.
  • The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation to make the information available to the rest of the scholarly world.
  • Examples of scholarly journals: American Economic Review, Archives of Sexual Behavior, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Modern Fiction Studies

Substantive news or general interest

  • These periodicals may be quite attractive in appearance. Some are in newspaper format. Articles are often heavily illustrated and generally contain photographs.
  • News and general interest periodicals sometimes cite sources, a scholar, or a freelance writer.
  • The language of these publications is geared to any educated audience. There is no special training assumed, only interest and a certain level of intelligence.
  • They are generally published by commercial enterprises or individuals, although some come from professional organizations.
  • The main purpose of periodicals in this category is to provide general information to a broad audience of concerned citizens.
  • Examples of substantive news or general-interest periodicals: The Economist, National Geographic, The New York Times, Scientific American


  • Popular periodicals come in many formats, although they are often somewhat slick and attractive in appearance and have many graphics.
  • These publications rarely, if ever, cite sources. Information published in such journals is often second- or third-hand, and the original source is sometimes obscured.
  • Articles are usually very short, written in simple language, and designed to meet a minimal education level. There is generally little depth to the content of these articles.
  • Articles are written by staff members or freelance writers.
  • The main purpose of popular periodicals is to entertain the reader, sell products (their own or their advertisers’), and/or promote a viewpoint.
  • Examples of popular periodicals: Ebony, Parents, People, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated, Time, Vogue


  • Sensational periodicals come in a variety of styles but often use a newspaper format.
  • The language is elementary and occasionally inflammatory or sensational. They assume a certain gullibility in their audience.
  • The main purpose of sensational magazines seems to be to arouse curiosity and cater to popular superstitions. They often do so with flashy headlines designed to astonish (e.g., “Seven year old becomes college president”).
  • Examples of sensational periodicals: The Globe, The National Enquirer, The Star, Weekly World News

Perodical Titles

American History

American Journal Of Nursing

American Nurseryman

American Theatre

Applied Nursing Research*



Bloomberg BusinessWeek


Chronicle Of Higher Education

Chronicles Of Oklahoma

College Teaching

Community College Journal

Community College Week

Congressional Digest

Consumer Reports (w/Buying Guide)

Critical Care Nursing Clinics Of North America



Educational Leadership*

English Jounral


Farm Journal

Field & Stream*


Geriatric Nursing*

Good Housekeeping


Journal Of Developmental Education

Journal Of Pediatric Nursing

Lasdies Home Journal

Law & Order Magazine

Livestock Weekly


Mother Earth News

Motor Trend

National Geographic Magazine

National Wildlife

Native Peoples Magazine

Natural Health

Nursing Career Directory

Nursing Clinics Of North America

Nursing Outlook

Oklahoma Today

Outdoor Life

Outdoor Oklahoma


People Weekly

Popular Mechanics

Popular Science


Psychology Today

Readers Digest

Real Simple


Rehabilitation Nursing*

Saturday Evening Post


Scientific American




Southern Living

Southwest Art

Sports Illustrated

Successful Farming

Time Magazine*

Vegetarian Times

Vital Speeches


Western Horseman

Writer's Digest


*Housed at Mcalester Campus

Subject Guide

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Kim Pendergraft
Contact Info
Assistant Librarian/Archivist
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Bill H. Hill Library
1301 West Main Street
Wilburton, Oklahoma 74578
918.465.0112 Fax
Send Email

Subject Guide

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Maria Martinez
Contact Info
Director of Library Media Services
Bill H. Hill Library
Eastern Oklahoma State College
1301 W. Main Street
Wilburton, OK 74578
918.465.0112 Fax
Send Email

Subject Guide

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Maria Gabriela Arroyo
Contact Info
Administrative Assistant to the Librarian
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Bill H. Hill Library
1301 W. Main Street
Wilburton, OK 74578
918.465.0112 Fax
Send Email

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