Skip to Main Content

Research Process

Get help with any part of the research process.

You will come across many different types of periodicals (journals, magazines, or newspapers) in your research. It is important to understand each type and how it can contribute to your research.

Distinguishing between Different Types of Periodicals

Different types of periodicals will come up in your information search, from academic journals to trade publications, general interest magazines to newspapers. 

What do each of these offer you?  When it is appropriate to use one versus another type of periodical? 

Check out the video below to get a quick explanation about each type of periodical.

Video created by JWU Denver Library

Comparison of Periodicals


Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines




Journal of Abnormal Psychology Psychology Today Magazine


Present original research and ideas Provide general information and entertainment Present current events and articles of general public interest


Researchers, scholars and professionals in a particular field General public General public


Researchers and scholars Journalists and staff writers Staff writers and freelance journalists


Reviewed by editorial board or other experts or peers (peer-reviewed) before publication Magazine editors Newspaper editors


Very narrow, specific subjects Wide variety of topics of public interest Current events and special features


Technical, scholarly language specific to subject Easy to read and understand with little technical jargon Easy to read and understand with little to no technical jargon


Use citations (footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography/references) Few to no references included No references


Longer articles usually including an abstract, introduction/literature review, methods, results, and conclusion Brief, general summaries of a topic, including background information Generally brief presentations of facts and events, though features can be longer


Tables, graphs or illustrations to support research and arguments Plentiful color illustrations or photos Some photographs and illustrations or charts
Frequency Bimonthly or quarterly Weekly or monthly Daily or weekly