Most scholarly journals are peer reviewed or refereed. This refers to a process in which submitted articles undergo rigorous evaluation by a group of academics or researchers whose knowledge and credentials are similar to those of the author, hence the author's 'peers'.
The reviewers send their recommendations on to the journal's editors. Articles ultimately approved for publication have gone through this refereed process and when published, further the knowledge in a given discipline.
Some article databases, such as Academic Search Premier, allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly publications, excluding the popular material. If you need to use scholarly resources for your research paper, checking this box will help limit the results to journal titles that are considered scholarly. Here is a great video that will help you better understand the peer review process:
Trade journals examine news, trends, and issues for a specific business, industry or organization.
Commentary and Opinion Journals examine social or political issues.
The main purpose is to provide information to a broad audience. No prior subject knowledge is necessary.
These magazines are designed to entertain, sell products, give practical information, and/or to promote a viewpoint.
Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory (Z6941 U5 READY REF) and Ulrichsweb provide a complete listing of magazines, journals and newspapers and comprehensive information about each publication, including "Document type."
Ask a Librarian for assistance if you cannot determine how scholarly a publication is, or if you need more information about a publication.
A good place to start is the list of databases found under the Rasmuson Library's Research Guides page.
From this page, select a subject that is related to your topic and then look at the databases under the Best Bets for Finding Articles section.