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Research: A Step-by-Step Guide: Find Periodical Articles

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process. You'll learn about tools you can use for researching any topic, how to evaluate the sources you find, and how to get help. Especially useful for English 102 students.

What are periodicals?

What is a Periodical?


A periodical is any publication that is issued on a regular basis, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Periodicals include:

Academic/Scholarly/Research Journals -  Publications aimed at professionals or researchers in a particular field, containing in-depth articles and reports of original research

Magazines - Popular publications usually containing advertising, sold by subscription or on a newsstand, and aimed at the general public

Newspapers - Current news, ususally published daily or weekly 

Trade and Industry publications - Published for practioners in applied fields

 

Tip!

It can be difficult to distinguish between the various types of periodicals when they are in electronic format. Luckily, many databases allow researchers to search or sort results by publication type.

On the search interface of the database, look for options to limit your results by scholarly journals, peer-reviewed journals, magazines, or newspapers.

 

Academic Journals

Also known as scholarly, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals.

Appearance: Generally have a sober, serious look. May contain graphs and charts, but few glossy pages or photographs. Use scholarly language with vocabulary specific to their profession or field.

Audience: Written for academics and professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by researchers or scholars in the field who report the results of original research.

Citations: Articles include footnotes and a list of works cited at the end of the article.

Content: Includes scholarly research for a particular profession or industry. Articles usually contain an abstract, methodology, discussion, charts or tables, results, conclusions, and references.

Frequency: Usually published bimonthly or quarterly.

Examples:

         

General Interest Magazines

Appearance: Generally attractive and illustrated with color photographs.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff or freelance writer.

Content: Includes current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published weekly or monthly.

Examples:

         

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources

Trade Magazines

Also known as industry magazines.

Appearance: Generally attractive and are often illustrated with color photographs.

Audience: Written for industry professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers, though the magazine may sometimes accept articles from industry professionals.

Citations: Occasionally list references at the end of the article or provide footnotes within the text.

Content: Includes current events and special features within a particular profession or industry.

Frequency: Usually published biweekly or monthly.

Examples:

         

Newspapers

Appearance: Generally printed on newsprint in black ink.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists.

Citations: Will sometimes cite sources, a scholar, or a freelance writer.

Content: Includes current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published daily or weekly.

Examples:

    

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a convenient way to search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and resources. Keep in mind that not all articles and other resources are available for free from Google Scholar. You may be directed to a publisher's site where you will have to pay for access to the full text of the article.

You don't need to pay! The article you want may be available through one of our Library databases. If not, you can request a free copy through our service called Interlibrary Loan.