Types of Periodicals

Information Literacy 8

Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles are important sources of information. It can be a challenge to know when to use them appropriately. This table presents some differences between these periodicals.

Scholarly Journals Substantive News Popular Magazines Sensational Magazines
  • Covers are plain with very little color; no photographs
  • Articles include charts, graphs, tables; Very few photographs are included
  • Articles written by scholar or researcher; statement given about credentials
  • Articles are "peer reviewed" (evaluated by others with a background in the field of study)
  • Articles have footnotes and bibliographies citing authors' sources
  • Articles use terminology of the discipline or technical language; focus on a single topic
  • Many journals are published by professional organizations
  • Examples include American Economic Review, Modern Fiction Studies

Journal of Educational Psychology

  • More attractive covers; often include photographs
  • Some are in newspaper format
  • Some articles include bibliographies or list of sources
  • The author may be a scholar, or a member of the periodical staff
  • Usually commercially published but sometimes associated with an organization
  • Information provided in a general manner and lack specialized terminology
  • Examples include Christian Science Monitor, CQ Researcher, Economist, National Geographic, Scientific American

National Geographic cover

  • Covers are slick and attractive in appearance; they contain many photographs in color
  • Bibliographies are rarely included
  • Articles contain information which has already appeared elsewhere
  • There is no original research
  • The language is simple with no special terminology
  • Articles are short with little depth of content
  • The purpose is to entertain; topics are of popular interest.
  • Examples include Good Housekeeping, Parents, People, Readers Digest, Sports Illustrated, Time

Good Housekeeping cover

  • Magazines often use a newspaper format
  • The language is elementary; could be described as inflammatory or sensational
  • The purpose is to grab reader's attention or curiosity with hard to believe headlines and eye catching photographs
  • Examples include Globe, National Enquirer, Star

Star cover

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