Proper identification of scholarly and non-scholarly resources is a critical skill needed by academic researchers and writers. Generally, the main requirement indicating a publication or scholarly or non-scholarly is whether or not the articles within the publication have been peer-reviewed.
...are written by a scholar in a specific field of study.
...ALWAYS cite their sources in either footnotes, bibliographies, or works cited.
...go through a peer-reviewed/refereed process.
...are generally published by associations and universities.
...are void of flashy advertisements and glossy photographs.
...generally assume some knowledge of the field they are in.
...often contain advertising and are more visually entertaining.
...are NOT peer-reviewed.
...are NOT written by scholars in that field of study.
...primarily provide information to a broad audience.
...are generally produced by commercial publishers.
What is a peer-reviewed journal?
A "peer-reviewed" (also known as a "scholarly" or "refereed") journal is one whose articles must pass a rigorous acceptance process through which a team of impartial experts or scholars in a field have carefully evaluated and vetted each article to ensure it exemplifies the best research practices of the field it is in.
How can I determine if an article is peer-reviewed?
Most library databases have a search option that allows you to indicate you only wish to view peer-reviewed journals or articles.
Another option is to locate the publication the article is published in and read the "about us" and/or "submissions" sections. These may indicate whether or not submissions go through a peer-review process.
Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (see below) is a listing of most of the periodicals (magazines, newspapers, newsletters, journals, etc.) that are available. It is very useful for determining if a publication is peer-reviewed (Ulrich's indicates these as "Refereed" publications) or finding the publication's website and other information so you can check for yourself.
If you need help verifying whether or not a publication is peer-reviewed, you can always contact your friendly librarians at Bailey Library.