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Evaluate Information

Tips on evaluating the sources you find in your research.

Scholarly and Popular Materials

Scholarly and Popular Materials

When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly," while magazine articles are usually considered "popular". A third category, "trade" magazines or journals, are written for professionals in a particular field but are not strictly research related. Below are additional criteria to consider when differentiating between journals and magazines.


Scholarly Journal

Popular Magazine

Trade Magazine/Journal

Sample Cover


Academics and professionals

General public

People in the business


Experts or specialists (PhD). Unpaid.

Journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers. Paid.

Staff writers, industry specialists, or vendor representatives. Paid.

Editorial Review

Journal editorial board and peer reviewers. Unpaid.

Professional editors. Paid.

Professional editors. Paid.

References / Works Cited

Almost always



Stated Purpose

"Publishes peer reviewed research papers in... science, technology, packaging, and engineering of foods.... Special emphasis is given to fundamental and applied research...."    

"Offers 'life through the lens of food' — cooking in, dining out, culture, travel, entertainment, shopping and design."

"Provides ideas for foodservice directors, managers and chefs through coverage of industry issues and events, operational topics and food trends that affect the noncommercial foodservice industry."  

Example Article Title

"Optimization of the production of shrimp waste protein hydrolysate using microbial proteases adopting response surface methodology"    

"In search of the perfect meatball"

"UCLA hospitals go to antibiotic-free meats"


$436/year (6 issues)

$15/year (12 issues)

$80/year (12 issues)


Types of Research Articles

Qualities of Empirical Research

  • Data is derived from a scientific method
  • Data comes from something that the author experienced, i.e. observation or measurement
  • Includes specific research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the population, behavior, or phenomena to be studied
  • Description of a process used to study a population or phenomena, including selection criteria, controls, and testing instruments

Look for the "IMRaD" format:

  • Introduction
    • Often includes a Literature Review: What is currently known about the topic -- usually includes a theoretical framework and/or discussion of previous studies
  • Methodology: sometimes called "research design" -- how to recreate the study -- usually describes the population, research process, and analytical tools
  • Results: sometimes called "findings" -- what was learned through the study -- usually appears as statistical data or as substantial quotations from research participants
  • Discussion: sometimes called "conclusion" or "implications" -- why the study is important -- usually describes how the research results influence professional practices or future studies

Qualities of Primary Research

  • The article reports on a study conducted by the authors writing the article.
  • May include a lit review, but cannot only be a literature review article
  • Will include hypothesis, methods, data, etc.

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