Types of Periodicals

How To Tell What Types of Periodical It Is

Scholarly Journals

This table lists the criteria that can be used to distinguish among popular magazines, trade publications, professional journals, and scholarly journals.  Some periodicals may not meet all of the criteria in a category but should be evaluated on the major characteristics such as content and accountability .

APPEARENCEeye-catching covercover often trade relatedglossy cover, often trade relatedplain cover, often with table of contents
glossy paperglossy paperglossy paperoften matte finish paper
color graphicscolor graphicscolor graphicsblack/white graphics unless color is essential
each issue starts with pg. 1usually each issue starts with a pg. 1usually each issue continues pagination from previous issueeach issue continues pagination from previous issue
AUDIENCEnonprofessionalsmembers of a specific business, trade, industry, profession, or organizationmembers of a specific professionresearchers and professionals
LANGUAGENon-technical, usually at a fifth to tenth grade reading levelUses jargon of the trade and some technical language, but readable by most peopleUses jargon and technical language appropriate to the professionUses highly technical language appropriate to the field
CONTENTpersonalities, news, and general interest articlesbrief newsy articles on industry trends, new product announcements, new techniques, and organizational newsarticles focus on application of research in the profession; are more in-depth; may include a few research articlesresearch projects, theory, and methodology
articles written by staff or free lance writers with no specific background in the subjectarticles written by staff with background in that field or by individuals currently working in that fieldarticles written by professionals, often with advanced degreesoriginal research findings presented by scholars, researchers or subject specialists in that field
ACCOUNTABILITYeditorial reviewreviewed by editor or staff with background in the fieldmembers of editorial board are professionals in the field;usually, but not always peer reviewed/refereed*
no bibliographiesin-text references to sources, but no bibliographiesmay be peer reviewed/refereed*includes detailed bibliographic citations
includes bibliographic citations;some may be detailed
ADVERTISINGheavymoderatemoderatefew, professionally related or none
all or most are trade relatedprofessionally related
EXAMPLESSports IllustratedAmerican NurseAmerican Journal of NursingClinical Imaging
EbonyAARC TimesJAMA: the Journal of the American Medical AssociationJournal of Pediatric Nursing
TimeChronicle of Higher EducationApplied RadiologyAmerican Journal of Health Behavior

* Peer Reviewed/Refereed

Peer Review refers to the policy of having experts in the field examine journal articles before they are accepted for publication.  Peer review insures that the research described in a journal’s articles is sound and of high quality.  Whether or not articles must undergo peer review is an editorial decision of the publication.  Do not assume that because an article presents scholarly research that it is peer reviewed.  Be sure to check the requirements for publication in that journal.

Sometimes the term refereed is used instead of peer review.


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