My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students

Journal vs. magazine

The table below shows some of the differences between a peer-reviewed journal and a popular magazine.


Peer reviewed journal

Popular magazine


Jnl of Early Childhood



Author of the article is always listed and credentials cited.

Articles usually written by staff or freelance reporter. Often they are not identified.


Academic or professional e.g. lecturers, researchers and students.

Articles are intended for the general public and non-professionals.


Research projects, methodology, and theory.

Usually an abstract at the beginning of the articles.

Articles will have bibliographies and/or footnotes.

Articles are often short, fewer than 5 pages.

Often full of advertisements.

Seldom contain a bibliography or footnotes.


Inform other scholars and students in higher education of new research and findings.


Inform the public of current trends and news in various popular subject areas.

Sell products or persuade the reader.

Make money.


Assumes prior knowledge of subject.

Simple, assuming no prior knowledge.

Availability By paid subscription. Often available from online databases. Newsagents, supermarkets, delicatessens.