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Finding Periodical Articles: Magazines Vs. Journals

Learn how to find articles from magazines and journals for your research assignments.

Magazines vs Journals

How can you tell the difference between types of periodicals?
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Popular magazines

Trade, industry and professional journals

Journals of commentary and opinion

Scholarly & research journals

AUTHOR

Usually a staff writer or journalist. Sometimes the author's name is not provided.

Writers with subject knowledge or practitioners and professionals.

Great variety: specialists, journalists, organizational members, others.

Primarily experts, often university researchers, whose credentials are usually included.

AUDIENCE

Written for the "average" person who doesn't have in-depth knowledge of a topic.

Multiple levels of readers: general public to practitioners and professionals.

General audience, high school and up.

Aimed at professionals, researchers, scholars, or others with more in-depth knowledge of the topic.

CONTENT

Entertainment, opinion, current topics, quick facts.

Trends, forecasts, news and events in the field; products, book reviews, employment, biography.

Commentary on social and political issues, specific viewpoints, book reviews.

Research, analysis, scholarship. Often includes abstract, research methods, conclusion, bibliography.

LENGTH

Shorter articles providing broad overviews of topics.

Short newsy items to longer, in-depth articles.

Varies:  short, pithy, articles to more in-depth discussion.  An issue may be devoted to a particular topic.

Longer articles providing in-depth analysis of topics.*

APPEARANCE

Glossy, color pictures, advertisements.

Ads related to the field or profession.  Charts, tables, illustrations.

Varies considerably.  Some have graphics and advertisements.

Dense text, usually with graphs and charts, fewer specialized, advertisements.

CREDIBILITY

Articles are generally evaluated by staff editors rather than experts in the field.

Articles reviewed by editors from professional associations or commercial/trade organizations.

Publications support a particular viewpoint or specific interest group.  Opinionated.

Articles reviewed by a "jury" of experts--"peer-reviewed" or "refereed"—before publication.*

EXAMPLES

People, Essence, Hispanic, Good Housekeeping, Out, Time, Vogue, Sports Illustrated

RN, Library Journal,  Professional Builder, Contractor Magazine, Restaurant Hospitality

National Review, America, Harper’s, New Republic, Commentary, Progressive, Atlantic

Journal of American History, Nature, Journal of Business, Lancet, Bioscience





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