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.
On the search interface of the database, look for options to limit your results by scholarly journal, peer-reviewed journals, industry publications, or similar.
Use the information below for assistance with distinguishing types of periodicals.
Also known as scholarly, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals.
Appearance: 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.
If you are not in the habit of reading scholarly journal articles, they can be difficult to read and understand. Here is a primer on how to read scholarly articles followed by a worksheet you can use to help you understand and evaluate a scholarly article.
Also known as industry magazines.
Appearance: 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.
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.