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Psychology Research: Evaluate Sources

Popular Magazines v. Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines & Newspapers vs. Academic Journals


"Periodicals" is a general term used to refer to newspapers, magazines and journals (publications that are published "periodically".) 


When you use periodical articles in your research, you should evaluate the article by asking questions similar to those you asked when evaluating web pages.



Popular Magazines / Newspapers

Academic Journals
(also called Scholarly Journals)

Overall appearance

 magazine  magazine  NY Times

Magazines are usually printed on glossy paper,  include advertisements, & are heavily illustrated, & attractive in appearance
Newspapers are not glossy, but are attractively laid out with plenty of photos, illustrations and advertisements.

    journal   journal  journal

Serious, may contain graphs or charts; no glossy pages, photographs; few or no advertisements


General Public

Scholars, researchers and students


Journalists, professional writers; credentials rarely provided

Researchers, scholars, or experts in the field; the article includes their academic credentials


Sources may be mentioned in the text of articles; sometimes cited for news articles, but rarely

Cited sources in footnotes or bibliography


Provide general information

Report on or review original research or experimentation in narrowly focused discipline or academic subject.

Article Acceptance Procedure

Articles written by hired reporters, edited by magazine or newspaper editors

Often undergo a "peer-review" process -- reviewed by other scholars in the field before being published --sometimes these journals are called "peer-reviewed journals" or "refereed journals"


MAGAZINES: Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Ms., Nation, Popular Science, Life, Sports Illustrated,Commentary, Architectural Digest, The Futurist, Motor Trend, Natural History, Prevention, Sierra, Sunset, Wired

NEWSPAPERS: S.F. Chronicle, N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post

New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Adolescence, American Historical Review, Art History, Counseling Psychologist, Geological Society of America Bulletin, Harvard Law Review, Management Science, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Women's Studies.


To find out more about most publications, do a Wikipedia search for the title

How to determine the political perspective of a magazine or journal


To find research studies, look for articles in scholarly journals that include the following sections:

    • Method(s): may include "Procedure", "Participants", "Measures"
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Data (usually included in statistical tables at the end of the article)

- See more at:

Web pages to evaluate

Using strategies and tips from the guide: “Evaluating Information from Web Pages”, decide whether the following pages would be good quality sources to use for a college research paper.

Source Examples:

Why Do Kids Become Addicted to Video Games?

Do video games lower academic performance?

Children's Media Use and Achievement

Electronic Play, Study, Communication, and Adolescent Achievement, 2003 to 2008