Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper Comparison

Characteristics Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) or (Refereed) & Research Journals Professional and Trade Industry Popular Magazines Newspapers
Examples Journal of American History ; Journal of Educational Research Library Journal ; Science Teacher People , Time , Sports Illustrated New York Times ; Boston Globe
Purpose/Content/Use Read by other researchers and professionals. Used for research, scholarship, and analysis covering in-depth topics news, events, current trends, products, forecasts and employment entertainment, special interests, persuasion, opinion, current events, quick facts current events, news, local information, opinions, entertainment
Author subject specialist and experts (Researchers professors, scholars) practitioner, professional, subject knowledgeable specialist staff writer, reporter, journalist journalist, reporter, and editor, may include expert
Audience Professionals, researchers, scholars, students in a specific discipline practitioners, professionals, general public general public general public
Credibility/Reliability Reviewed/refereed by experts. The format and content meets strict guidelines. Generally includes a bibliography and may also include the author's credentials Reviewed by editors, professional/trade associations Editor and staff reviewed Editor and staff reviewed
Appearance serious; plain paper, may include abstracts, charts, graphs, tables, and a bibliography. trade advertisements colorful, glossy, advertisements advertisements
Language Includes discipline specific language May include professional jargon general audience, non-technical, simple language basic terms, non-technical
Length articles with in-depth coverage short news items and in-depth articles short articles brief articles
Frequency monthly or quarterly weekly or monthly weekly or monthly daily or weekly
Publisher An academic publisher; professional or scholarly association or society An organization, association, or corporation Corporation, commercial enterprises, individuals Corporation, commercial enterprises, individuals


CRAAP - Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. 

One way of testing an articles reliability

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published?
  • Are the links functional?   

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/sponsor and what are their credentials?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from and is it supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Is the information fact? opinion?