Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College

2. Periodicals

Magazines, journals and newspapers are called "periodicals" because they are published at regular, periodic intervals throughout the year. When compared with books, periodical articles are generally shorter, more current, and focused on more specific topics.

Need to find scholarly, academic research articles? Then look at journals, which are aimed at researchers in the academic or professional community. Need to find general articles geared toward the average reader? Then look for magazines.

Magazines (Popular)

A popular magazine is usually geared toward the general public. It will tend to have shorter articles that cover a wide range of areas. There will be lots of pictures and advertisements. Articles tend to summarize big or complicated topics and don't usually have lists of references or bibliographies.
Examples: Psychology Today, Newsweek, Vogue

Popular magazines are great for:

  • information or opinions about popular culture
  • up-to-date information about current events
  • general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in the topic area

Journals (Scholarly)

A journal is a scholarly periodical aimed at researchers, academics, and professionals. Articles tend to be much longer, going into detail and usually have a list of references or citations at the end. You won't find many photographs or pictures, and probably no advertisements. Many journals are published by universities or scholarly groups.
Examples: Journal of Beckett Studies, Psychological Research

Use a journal:

  • when doing scholarly, academic research
  • to find what experts have to say about your topic
  • to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research

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