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Getting Started with Research: Newspapers, Magazines, & Journals

What Are Periodicals?

  • Periodicals are any material that is published periodically, such as daily, monthly or quarterly. A book, for example, is not a periodical.
  • Some assignments will ask you to find "scholarly" sources. Scholarly is not the same as "credible." Any kind of source may be credible, and you should evaluate your sources
  • Scholarly articles should adhere to standards for research in a particular field, just as news sources  should adhere to journalism standards.

Scholarly Periodicals

Academic or Peer-reviewed Journal  - Examples: Journal of Asian Studies, Psychophysiology, Social Research

  • A scholarly journal publishes original research, including studies, historical or literary analysis, reviews of existing research, experiments, 
  • Articles are written by an expert in the field for other experts in the field.
  • Articles often undergo a peer review process before acceptance for publication.
  • Authors of articles always cite their sources.

Note: Some but not all academic journals are peer-reviewed. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer-reviewed.

Other Kinds of Periodicals

General Interest Magazines & News Sources  - Examples:Time, Popular Science, Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal

  • Publication provides information in a general manner to a broad audience.
  • Articles are generally written by a member of the editorial staff or a freelance writer, or sometimes by a subject matter expert.
  • Articles are written for a wide audience of general readers. 
  • Sources are sometimes cited, but more often there are no footnotes or bibliography.
  • Newspapers and magazines are edited and fact-checked.
  • Credible publications adhere to best practices and standards in journalism

Trade or Professional Journal - Examples: Advertising Age, American Journal of Nursing, People Management

  • Discusses practical information in industry.
  • Contains news, trends, and practical information related to a field.
  • Articles usually written by experts in the field for other experts in the field.
  • These publications  are useful to people working in or exploring career opportunities in a field. 
  • Some trade publications may be scholarly, and even sometimes peer-reviewed, depending on the publication.
  • These publications are edited and fact-checked.
  • Credible publications that don't follow scholarly standards adhere to best practices and standards in journalism

How to search within a particular publication

Sometimes your assignment suggests particular newspapers, magazines, or journals to search in. This video shows you how to do a search within a particular publication. 

How to find peer-reviewed journal articles

In the peer-review process, in addition to a journal's editorial staff reading a submitted article, a panel of the author's peers who work or do research in the same field also read the article to verify that the work meets the standards of that field. 

To limit your search results to peer reviewed articles, look for a box to check on the results page. It might be in different locations for different databases:

An example in the search results page:           An example on the search box page:       

Search results example                    Search box example                     

Sometimes when you look at an article there is an indication of whether the journal is peer reviewed, but sometimes you might have to Google the journal -- you can look for "About" or "Submission Guidelines" on an journal's website to see if they use peer review when accepting articles. If you're still not sure, ask a librarian or your professor. We are glad to help!

Peer Review in 3 Minutes (3:16)

Searching for a particular article

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