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Journals vs. Magazines


Types of Periodicals

Periodicals are print sources that are published weekly, monthly or quarterly, such as magazines, newspapers and journals. Instructors may require a variety of sources or limit sources to scholarly journals.

Scholarly journals

Scholarly publications contain articles written by professionals in the field. The articles may be original research or an extension of previous research, illustrated with graphs, tables and have a list of references at the end. Articles submitted to a scholarly journal are peer reviewed or juried, meaning other experts read and suggest revisions to the author before the final version is accepted for publication.

Popular magazines

Popular magazines are not in-depth enough to be scholarly. The magazine may have a an area of interest - Parenting is devoted to raising children and Time is a news magazine, but the articles are intended as overviews. Authors may or may not be named, there may be illustrations or charts, but there won't be a bibliography at the end.

Newspapers

Newspapers can be published daily, weekly or monthly. Editorials focus on commentary or opinion while the news articles are supposed to be factual information. Newspapers may have a viewpoint that echoes their publisher or the audience they serve which you may discover by "reading between the lines."

Periodical Comparison Chart

Newspapers
Magazines
Types of Journals
Opinion
Scholarly
Trade
Examples Plain Dealer, Wall Street Journal  Newsweek, Psychology Today, Billboard  The New Republic, The Animal's Agenda  Crystal Engineering, New England Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Library Association, Publisher's Weekly
Audience/
Content
General readership - news, opinions, text of speeches, local interest  Overviews, non-technical language, advertisments  Journal has specific agenda written to appeal to like-minded readers  Professional readership - research, analysis, technical vocabulary  Journal of association or trade organization meant for people in that field
Authorship By-line for important staff writers, often no author named, no credentials given  By-line for important staff writers, often no author named, no credentials given  Featured writers have by-line, staff writers often not named, no credentials given  All contributing authors named with their degrees and sponsoring institution  Varies - some name authors and their credentials, others not
Bibliog./
Credits
Articles often do not refer to sources  No bibliography, articles may refer to other sources  No bibliography, articles may refer to other sources  Extensive bibliography, footnotes in text, article often begins with literature review  Varies from journal to journal
Editors/
Peer Review
Standards set by newspaper editors and owners  Staff editors, no peer or expert review  Staff editors, no peer or expert review  Articles "peer reviewed" for accuracy by other experts  Staff editors, no peer or expert review
Length Brief overview articles or follow-up columns  Short overview articles meant as starting point for readers  Short articles supporting journal's agenda  Comprehensive papers outlining original research or new synthesis of previous research  Shorter overview articles applying to specific topics in trade
Special Features  Photographs, some charts, maps etc.  Advertisements, photographs, illustrations, maps etc.  Advertisements, photographs, illustrations, maps etc.  Tables, graphs, charts, maps, illustrations to support text  Advertisements, photographs, illustrations
Structure No consistent format for articles  No specific structure unless written by featured writer  No specific structure unless written by featured writer  Structured, beginning with abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography  No specific structure unless written by featured writer 

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