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How to Write a Research Paper: Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals

Step by step description of how to write a research paper

Research Problems

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Scholarly journals vs. popular magazines

Popular Magazine & Newspapers Scholarly Journals 
Audience: General Public Scholars, Researchers, and Students
Articles written by:

Journalist 

Reporters

Almost anyone

Professionals within a field 

Scholars 

Articles usually indicate author affiliations (Universities or research centers)

Content:

News 

Nontechnical language

Entertainment purposes

In-depth research 

Original Findings

Technical language 

Research reports 

Charts, graphs, or equations 

Bibliographies 

References (endpoints and footnotes) 

Continuous pagination

Language Easy to understand  Specialized terminology
Appearance 

Consumer advertising 

Glossy Photos 

Non-standard language

Dense Text 

Few Ads (specialized) 

Structured, includes abstract, objectives, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. 

Publication schedule:

Weekly 

Daily 

Issues identified by day/month/year

Monthly

Quarterly 

Biannually 

Issues usually identified by volume and/or issue number

Can be useful for: 

Broad overview of complex issues

Popular perspective on any issue 

Finding out what is being written about a subject generally

Current Research 

Checking accuracy of data or statistics

Accountability:

Articles are edited by editorial staff

Edited for format and style

Limited, if any, references given

Peer-reviewed 

Edited for content, format, and style

References available

Examples: Examples include Time, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, National Geographic, and the New York Times  Examples include American Journal of Sociology, British Medical Journal (BMJ), and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)