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College of the Atlantic - Thorndike Library

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Understand Your Sources

Journals vs Magazines

What's the difference between journals and magazines?

Journals and magazines are printed on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, etc.) and both contain articles.  However, the term "journal" generally implies a scholarly publication. On the other hand, the term "magazine" usually indicates a publication with popular interest. 

Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • These are a special kind of scholarly journal.  A peer-reviewed journal contains articles that are reviewed by experts in the field before the journal is published.

  • How do you know if a journal is peer-reviewed?

    • Print journals will sometimes indicate inside the front cover if the journal is peer-reviewed.

    • Databases that provide access to scholarly journal articles often have filters that allow you to search for just peer-reviewed articles.

    • When in doubt, go to the journal's homepage and look for instructions for authors.  This will generally indicate if the articles are peer-reviewed prior to publication.

Examples of Journals & Magazines in our Collection

Visit our Library Reading Room to view the following publications.  Can you tell the difference between a journal and magazine?

Examples of Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Equity & Excellence in Education
  • Ecological Applications
  • American Journal of Botany

Examples of Scholarly Journals (that are not peer-reviewed)

  • Environmental Ethics
  • Daedalus:  Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Popular Magazines

  • Downeast Magazine
  • The Economist
  • Time