(Magazines & Newspaper articles)
|Appearance||Attractive appearance, Eye-catching cover
Pictures and illustrations in color
|Usually plain cover
May contain graphs, charts or case studies
|Audience||Non-professionals, General public
Written in non-technical language
|Professors, scholars, researchers, or students
Written in the technical language of the field
|Authors||Journalist or professional writers||Researchers, scholars, faculty|
|Content||Personalities, news, and general interest articles
A wide variety of subjects
Articles written by staff, may be unsigned
|Report original research, discoveries, or experimentation; specific topics
Publish research projects, their methodology, and significance
Articles written by contributing authors, with institution indicated
|Advertisements||Heavy||Few or none|
|Reviewers||Reviewed by editors||Reviewed by editors, peers, and referees|
|Publisher||Commercial||Professional associations, academic institutions, commercial publisher|
|Frequency||Published on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis||Published on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis|
|Documentation||Few or no bibliographic references||Bibliographic references (footnotes, end notes, etc.)|
Biology of the Cell
Journals, magazines, and newspapers are important sources for up-to-date information in all disciplines. It is often difficult to distinguish between the various levels of scholarship found in periodical publications. In this guide we have divided the criteria for evaluating periodical literature into four categories:
Webster's Third International Dictionary defines
Substantive is defined as having a solid base, being substantial.
Popular means fit for, or reflecting the taste and intelligence of, the people at large.
Sensational is defined as arousing or intending to arouse strong curiosity, interest or reaction.
Keeping these definitions in mind, and realizing that none of the lines drawn between types of journals can ever be totally clear cut, the general criteria are as follows.
Scholarly journals are also called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed journals. Strictly speaking, peer-reviewed (also called refereed) journals refer only to those scholarly journals that submit articles to several other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field for review and comment. These reviewers must agree that the article represents properly conducted original research or writing before it can be published.
What to look for:
Examples of scholarly journals:
American Economic Review. Applied Geography. Archives of Sexual Behavior. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. Journal of Marriage and the Family (published by the National Council on Family Relations). Journal of Theoretical Biology. Modern Fiction Studies.
These periodicals may be quite attractive in appearance, although some are in newspaper format. Articles are often heavily illustrated, generally with photographs.
What to look for:
Examples of substantive news or general interest periodicals:
The Economist. National Geographic. The New York Times. Scientific American. Vital Speeches of the Day.
Examples of popular periodicals:
Ebony. Parents. People Weekly. Readers Digest. Sports Illustrated. Vogue.
Examples of Sensational periodicals:
Globe. National Examiner. Star.
Adapted with permission from Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA.