The terms journal, magazine, and periodicals are often used interchangeably, but this does not mean that they all refer to the same type of publication.
Both magazines and journals serve a purpose in research. Depending on your topic and guidelines from your professor, you may need to utilize one or both of these types of periodicals.
Scholarly articles are written by an expert in the subject matter, are research focused, contain original research, and the audience is geared towards other experts. Scholarly articles are often, but not always, peer-reviewed.
Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly articles that also go through a rigorous review process by other experts in the same field before publication. How does the process work?
Popular articles are articles that appear in magazines or newspapers, are not scholarly or peer-reviewed, and are written by journalists or staff members who are not subject matter experts. That is not to say that these types of articles are not credible, but they need do need to be evaluated for credibility more so than their counterparts. Examples:
"Peer Review in 3 Minutes" by NC State University Libraries, NC State University Libraries is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
There are several ways to check and see if the article you are looking at is peer-reviewed:
Research articles (sometimes called primary articles) are a type of scholarly, peer-reviewed article. In a research article, the author(s) performed original research by conducting an experiment or study.
Research articles follow a specific format and include specific sections that show how the research was designed, how the data was gathered, how it was analyzed, and what the conclusions are. Sometimes these sections may be labeled differently, but these basic elements are consistent:
In short, research articles are articles where an original experiment or study was conducted and will typically contain the following section headings: Methods, Discussion, Conclusion.
Example: Skin Cancer Prevention Behaviors Among Parents of Young Children
Review articles (sometimes called secondary articles) summarize current or existing research on a topic.
Experiments or studies were not conducted by the author(s) and as a result they are typically not broken down into the types of sections research articles are broken down into (But don't assume).
The core of a review article is summarizing experiments or studies that other researchers performed.
Research articles are a great way to quickly learn about new research in a particular field. It is important to remember that review articles can be peer reviewed articles. So just because you have a peer-reviewed article, don't assume that it must be a research article.
Often times, review article are labeled as such in the title or top of the article.
In short, review articles are articles where new research in a field is summarized and an original experiment or study was not conducted. If an article does not have methods, results, and discussion sections; it is a review article.
Example: Dissecting Kawasaki Disease: A State of the Art Review
Permission to use Research vs. Review Articles provided by the creator, Jennifer Lee of University of Calgary Libraries, Copyright © 2014