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Mary: Theology, Culture, Devotion & Theotokos: Scholarly vs. Popular

Designed for graduate and undergraduate classes, but useful for anyone doing research on Mary, the Mother of Jesus

For your article searches

Be aware that some periodical indexes index academic/ professional journal articles, some do magazines, some do newspapers, and some do a combination of two or more types. Some even index essays/chapters in books.

Most databases have a way of limiting what you retrieve to one type or another.  Use a combination of AND, OR and limiting by criteria (date, type, level, language, etc.) to narrow long lists of results.

Better yet, start off with a KEYWORD search, look at results for a good, pertinent article, and then look at the DESCRIPTORS/SUBJECT TERMS that describe that article to select the best seach terms for your purposes.  Your next search, with this "official vocabulary" should be more productive.

Stop by the Information Desk if you run into problems.

Peer Reviewed? Refereed?

 Peer Review - The process of obtaining impartial opinions from the research and academic community in order to ascertain whether papers submitted for publication in journals ... are of a sustainable standard. 

Referee -  An independent expert who assists the editor of a journal in evaluating the acceptability of contributions submitted for publication.


Journals Vs. Magazines

Criteria for Evaluation

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines



Bibliographies or references included


Usually DO NOT have bibliographies


Authors are experts, often professors at universities or research centers



Authors are often journalists or generalists


Contain articles approved by author's peers (peer reviewed) or refereed



Contain articles chosen by editors who are employed by the magazine or people within a certain trade field


Audience is the scholarly reader, such as professors, researchers, students



Audience is the general population


Standardized formats are usually followed (APA, MLA, etc.)



Various formats which are often unstructured


Written in the jargon of the field



Written for anyone to understand


Any illustrations support the text (maps, tables, photos)



Often heavily illustrated for market appeal.  



Few ads, usually for academic products



Lots of advertising for many types of products


Scholarly vs. Popular Video

A quick look at some differences between a magazine article (popular) and a journal article (scholarly).