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Engineering Design and Practice Sequence (EDPS)

Information Resources and Management for Engineering Design and Practice Sequence (EDPS)

Comparison of scholarly, professional, and popular Journals

Defining the nature of an article you may find online can sometimes be tricky, and to know if the article is credible enough to use, you need to be familiar with the main types of periodicals that you may use.

The following table summarizes the main features of different types of periodicals:


Scholarly Journal

Popular Magazine

Trade Magazine/Journal


Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews


Solar Today

Content (Accuracy)

In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication.

Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform.

Current news, trends and products in a specific industry; practical information for professionals working in the field or industry.

Author (Authority)

Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.

Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles; may or may not have subject expertise.

Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.

Audience (Coverage)

Scholars, researchers, and students.

General public; the interested non-specialist.

Professionals in the field; the interested non-specialist.

Language (Coverage)

Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.

Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.

Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal.

Graphics (Coverage)

Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.

Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.

Photographs; some graphics and charts; advertisements targeted to professionals in the field.

Layout & Organization 

Structured ; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.

Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.

Informal; articles organized like a journal or a newsletter. Evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge.


Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.

Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.

Articles are evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed*; edited for format and style.


Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.

Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.

Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required.


Page numbers are consecutive throughout the volume.

Each issue begins with page 1.

Each issue begins with page 1.

Other Examples

Scholarly Journal
Journal of Applied Mechanics, Advances in Civil Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy.

Popular Magazine
Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek.

Trade Magazine/Journal
Architectural Record, PC World, IEEE Spectrum, Engineering Dimensions.