COM 1010: Speech Communication

How Scholarly Journals Differ from Newspapers and Magazines

Scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, sometimes called "academic journals" have collections of articles written by academic researchers and others who are considered "experts" in their fields of work.  Often they are doing original research, based on new ideas.  Their ideas may have roots in the research of others in the same field of inquiry.  The researchers provide references to the work that they have consulted and read.

Prior to being published, the articles are submitted to other experts, who are reviewers for the publication, who decide whether the article will be accepted. This is called "peer review." They are reviewed "blind," meaning neither the authors nor the reviewers know the others' identities.

How do  scholarly journals different from newspaper articles and general interest publications?  Newspapers are records of daily events when they happen.  The authors, mainly journalists, are writing under deadline pressures, and may be employed by the publication, or they are being paid by the publication to write the article. General interest publications may be daily, or weekly, or monthly, and their articles are also written by journalists, who are knowledgeable in their areas. They don't contain references. Stories in general interest publications, including newspapers, may explain the results of peer-reviewed research.

Scholarly journal articles help provide new knowledge or new perspectives of looking at an issue or situation.  Journals are often associated with universities or professional membership organizations of scholars and researchers.

Some journals have a very narrow focus; while others have a broader focus.

Example of a General Interest Publication

Time Magazine Issue Cover

Time Magazine is available online and in print.  It is written by journalists.  It is not a peer-reviewed or scholarly publication.

However, it helps keep its readers informed.

Examples of a Journal's Focus

The Journal of Communication publishes  articles and book reviews examining a broad range of issues in communication theory and research.

The Journal of Communication in Healthcare publishes articles on strategies, media and engagement in global health.

This is a narrower focus than the Journal of Communication.

Another Example of a Journal's Focus

   The Shakespeare Quarterly has a narrower focus--on Shakespeare- than the Studies in English Literature.


Professional Journals Examples