Articles can contain news, in-depth analysis, or the findings of a scientific study. Articles are found in a variety of publications. These publications are often referred to as serials or periodicals because they are published on a regular schedule, whether annually, monthly, weekly, or daily. The number of articles available on a given subject will depend on how recently events related to this topic have taken place.
Popular Magazine Articles
You are probably familiar with magazines like Time, Vogue, Wired, Essence, and so on. These magazines are referred to as "popular magazines." Popular magazines provide general information on topics of interest to a wide audience. The articles are typically written by journalists or writers who may or may not have any expertise in the article's topic.
They also have some characteristics that make them easily identifiable in print or online. Articles in popular magazines rarely contain citations or footnotes to sources, and they undergo a limited editorial review. Popular magazines can be a good source for general information on current topics.
Professional Trade Magazines & Technical Articles
Professional trade magazines and journals are aimed at specific professional audiences. The American Psychological Association Monitor, American Scholar, and Science are examples of professional journals.
Articles in these publications are often written by practitioners or professionals who have at least some background in or experience with the topics. The articles tend to cover current issues of interest to the profession and may contain terminology familiar to the profession. Professional journals are usually published monthly and they often include citations to source materials.
Scholarly or Scientific Journal Articles
Scholarly or scientific journals present primary accounts of original research or in-depth analysis of a topic. Scholarly journal articles are written by researchers, scholars, or practitioners who are considered experts in their field. The articles are aimed at other researchers or experts so the language used is often highly technical and may be difficult for an outside or inexperienced researcher to understand.
Scholarly journals are also referred to as "peer-reviewed," "blind peer-reviewed," or "refereed" journals due to the rigorous review process that articles go through before they are accepted and published by the journal. You can often tell an article is scholarly by the extensive bibliography, the credentials or affiliation of the author, and the inclusion of technical graphs, charts, and diagrams.
See How Do I Distinguish Different Types of Journals to view a concise table outlining the criteria of each type of journal.