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How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide: 3c. Types of Periodicals

How to do research

Tip!

It can be difficult to distinguish between the various types of periodicals when they are in electronic format. Luckily, many databases allow researchers to search or sort results by publication type. (In Library Search, these filters are located on the left side of the results screen.)

On the search interface of the database, look for options to limit your results by scholarly journals, peer-reviewed journals, industry publications, or similar.

Use the information below for assistance with distinguishing types of periodicals.

Trade Magazines

Also known as industry magazines.

Appearance: Print versions are generally attractive and are often illustrated with color photographs.

Audience: Written for industry professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers, though the magazine may sometimes accept articles from industry professionals.

Citations: Occasionally list references at the end of the article or provide footnotes within the text.

Content: Includes current events and special features within a particular profession or industry.

Frequency: Usually published biweekly or monthly.

Examples:

         

General Interest Magazines

Appearance: Print versions are generally attractive and illustrated with color photographs.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff or freelance writer.

Content: Includes current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published weekly or monthly.

Examples:

        

Academic Journals

Also known as scholarly, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals.

Appearance: In print format, these generally have a sober, serious look. May contain graphs and charts, but few glossy pages or photographs. Use scholarly language with vocabulary specific to their profession or field.

Audience: Written for academics and professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by researchers or scholars in the field who report the results of original research.

Citations: Articles include footnotes and a list of citations at the end of the article.

Content: Includes scholarly research for a particular profession or industry. Articles usually contain an abstract, methodology, discussion, charts or tables, results, conclusions, and references.

Frequency: Usually published bimonthly or quarterly.

Examples:

         

If you are not in the habit of reading scholarly journal articles, they can be difficult to read and understand. Jennifer Naff's Violent Metaphors blog offers some sound advice and an example.
 

Newspapers

Appearance: Generally printed on newsprint in black ink.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists.

Citations: Will sometimes cite sources, a scholar, or a freelance writer.

Content: Includes current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published daily or weekly.

Examples: