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Different types of periodicals

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Indexes & Abstracts

Different Types of Periodicals

The terms "magazine", "scholarly journal", "periodical", and "serial" are often used interchangeably. However, some distinctions can be made. "Periodical" is a general term that can be applied to any publication that is issued periodically e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.

Many instructors require students to use scholarly journals rather than newspapers and magazines. It is important that you know the difference.

Some specific types of periodicals are described below:




Newspapers and Magazines
  • Popular in nature
  • Written for a general audience
  • Usually no footnotes, bibliography
  • Written by journalists rather than by specialists in a given field.
Scholarly Journals
  • Scholarly or professional in focus.
  • Written by experts in the field.
  • Lengthy articles include footnotes and bibliographies.
  • Often published by professional organisations.
  • Contain original research.
  • Little or no advertising.
Trade Publications
  • Written by and for people within a particular field or industry
  • Include industry information and statistics.
  • Emphasis on current trends in fields.
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