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English 101 - Fast Food Nation

Types of Periodicals

Types of Periodicals
Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist 


What is a Periodical?
Periodicals are publications which are issued at regular intervals, such as journals, magazines, and newspapers. They are also often referred to as serials. Periodicals usually consist of a collection of articles, which may range from a single page story in a magazine to a 40 page study in a scholarly journal. Periodicals are important sources of up-to-date information in all disciplines.
Periodical Categories
There are three broad categories of periodicals:
  • Scholarly or research-oriented
  • Professional, trade, or industry
  • Popular

 When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine/popular articles. Use the information below to help you distinguish between a scholarly journal and other types of periodicals.


Criteria Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine Trade Magazine/Journal
The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Time magazine
Publisher's Weekly
Content (Accuracy) In-depth, primary account of originalfindings written by the researcher(s);very specific 
information, with the goal of scholarly communication.
Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opiniongeneral information, purpose is to entertain or inform. Current news, trends and products in a specific industry; practical information for professionals working in the field or industry.
Author (Authority) Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise. Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise. Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.
Audience (Coverage) Scholars, researchers, and students. General public; the interested non-specialist. Professionals in the field; the interested non-specialist.
Language (Coverage) Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area. Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal.
Graphics (Coverage) Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs. Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs. Photographs; some graphics and charts;advertisements targeted to professionals in the field.
Layout & Organization (Currency) Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion. Informal; articles organized like a journal or a newsletter. Evidence drawn frompersonal experience or common knowledge.
Accountability (Objectivity) Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed*; edited for format and style.
References (Objectivity) Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable. Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given. Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required.
Paging Page numbers are consecutive throughout the volume. Each issue begins with page 1. Each issue begins with page 1.
Other Examples

Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly

Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, Cooking Light, Discover

Architectural Record, PC World, Restaurant Business, American Libraries, Psychology Today



Peer Review

An author talks about the process of submitting an article to peer reviewed journals for publication.