Periodicals are publications that are issued on a regular (or periodic) interval, and they can be excellent sources of concise, focused articles on current events and social issues. Articles in periodicals typically address a very specific aspect of a larger topic.
Different types of periodicals are suitable for different types of information, and are published at different intervals.
Scholarly journals, academic journals, professional journals, and peer-reviewed journals generally feature articles reporting current research in a specific discipline or field of study. However, not all scholarly journals are peer-reviewed journals. Some scholarly journals require that articles go through a peer-review process before being accepted for publication.
Peer-review implies that articles are reviewed by a panel of experts (peers) in a field of study to ensure that research is accurate and original, and that comparable results could be achieved if the experiment or study were to be carried out again.
Click here to view a video about peer reviewed journals. (video created by North Carolina State University Libraries)
Use this chart to help distinguish among types of periodicals.
|Magazines and Newspapers||Scholarly Journals||Trade Journals|
|Authors||Reporters, journalists||Researchers & scholars in the field||Professionals in the field|
|Purpose||Entertain, persuade, inform||Publish research, educate, & communicate||Share information in the field|
|Audience||General public||Researchers, experts, & students in the field||Professionals & students in the field|
Writing Style & Vocabulary
|Simple, easy-to-read, writing & vocabulary||
Sophisticated, formal writing
Technical, discipline-specific vocabulary
Readable by general population
Vocabulary specific to profession
|Sources||Not cited||Cited with footnotes or bibliography||Generally not cited as scholarly journals are, but references may be given|
|Advertising||Extensive||Announcements for conferences, publications in the field||Specific to products & services in the profession|
|Graphics||Usually photographs accompany articles||Charts, tables, & statistical data to support articles||Photographs, charts, data|
|Publishers||Commercial, for-profit||Professional society, university, or non-profit organization||Professional or trade organization, non-profit organization|
|Is it Refereed or Peer-reviewed?||No||Yes, articles must meet rigorous standards & be reviewed by a panel of experts before being accepted for publication||Not a peer-review process, but articles are checked for accuracy before publication|
New York Times
Reading Research Quarterly
Journal of Marriage and the Family
Modern Fiction Studies
New England Journal of Medicine
Law and Order
Phi Delta Kappan