WHAT DO YOU MEAN--PERIODICAL, JOURNAL, MAGAZINE, SERIAL?

Periodicals (Librarians call them "serials") come in a variety of styles and are published for a variety of audiences. They offer news, opinion, commentary, scholarly analysis, literary criticism, and reports of research. All periodicals are published at more or less regular intervals, from daily newspapers to semi-annual journals. You must make active choices about the types of periodicals needed for a given research project.  Magazines and newspapers may be appropriate for some purposes, journals of opinion for others, but usually the most important sources for research papers are academic journals. Many of the different kinds of periodical require different citation styles.

TYPES & EXAMPLES

AUDIENCE & USE

WATCH FOR

METHOD OF ACCESS

Newspapers:
New York Times 
Times
(London)
Times Picayune
Wall Street Journal
Mobile Press Register

Current information; journalists & freelance
News stories, features
Editorials, Sound-off, Letters to the Editor
Texts of speeches, etc.
Local or Geographic area focus

Month and Date--Sept. 30, 2008
Section and page numbers--pB25
Editorials, Letters, Sound-Off Syndicated Columnists

LexisNexis
Ebsco's Newspaper Source
Proquest's Ethnic NewsWatch
Proquest's Newspapers
Mobile Register
Some newspapers are on the public web

Magazines:
Southern Living

Working Woman
Modern Maturity
Personal Computing

Minimal reading level; staff and freelance writers
Focused toward specific consumer groups
Feature stories, Recipes, tips, how to...
Lots of advertising, Personal stories,
How-To, Cover Stories, Reviews

Weekly or Monthly
Date, Page numbers
Sometimes Volume and Issue
Lots & lots of ads
Brief articles, photos

Local Public Library
Ebsco's MasterFile Premier
InfoTrac's OneFile
InfoTrac's General Reference Center Gold

News Magazines:
Time
Newsweek
Maclean's (Canada)

Nontechnical language
Current events, Feature stories, public opinion polls
Photographs, graphs, book & movie reviews
Politics and contemporary issues

Weekly or Monthly
Date, Page numbers
Sometimes Volume and Issue Lots of advertising

InfoTrac's Expanded Academic ASAP
InfoTrac's Business Index
Ebsco's Academic Search Premier

Popular Magazines of Opinion:
New Republic
National Review
Christian Century
Christianity Today

Generally Educated Audience
Particular viewpoint or agenda
Commentary, Editorials, Letters
Book, movie reviews, interviews
News articles with a slant

Weekly or Monthly
Date, Page numbers
Look like news magazines, but have a particular political, religious,or other ideological bias

Columnists

InfoTrac's Expanded Academic ASAP
InfoTrac's OneFile
InfoTrac's Reference Center Gold
Ebsco's Academic Search Premier
Ebsco's Masterfile Premier

Professional Trade Journals: Adweek
Progressive Grocer

Modern Plastics
Hardware Age
Aviation Week

Written for practitioners
Practical articles; how-to, vocational info
Current trends and practices
Product information and ads
Meetings, job ads, personalities

Weekly or Monthly
Date, Page numbers
Sometimes Volume and Issue #
The title usually indicates a profession
photos, ads

Ebsco's Business Source Premier
Ebsco's Vocational Search
Ebsco's MasterFILE Premier
LexisNexis

Academic Journals:
Psychobiology
Journal of Popular Culture
Nursing Management
Studies in Short Fiction
Journal of Marriage and the        Family

"Peer-reviewed" or "refereed"
Technical language of the field
Often non-profit, Reports of original research or thought
Literary criticism, Case Studies, Literature reviews, methods, results, discussions
Charts, graphs, tech. drawings,

Always year, volume and issue #
Sometimes season
Usually 4-6 times a year
Long articles and bibliographies
Difficult language,
No advertising, few pictures

InfoTrac's Expanded Academic ASAP (click on "to refereed publications")
Ebsco's Academic Search Premier (click on "peer reviewed")
Other specific disciplinary indexes like PsycInfo, Science Direct, ACM Digital Library. (see complete alphabetical list under "Articles, Indexes, Databases")

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Last updated: 4/23/09 js