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Guide to the Research Process: 3c. Popular vs Scholarly Periodicals

This guide provides an introduction to the skills needed to conduct research, with particular reference to the field of education.

Trade Magazines

Also known as industry magazines.

Appearance: Generally attractive and are often illustrated with colour photographs.

Audience: Written for industry professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers, though the magazine may sometimes accept articles from industry professionals.

Citations: Occasionally list references at the end of the article or provide footnotes within the text.

Content: Include current events and special features within a particular profession or industry.

Frequency: Usually published biweekly or monthly.

Examples:

         

Newspapers

Appearance: Generally printed on newsprint in black ink.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists.

Citations: Will sometimes cite sources, a scholar, or a freelance writer.

Content: Include current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published daily or weekly.

Examples:

    

Identifying Popular and Scholarly Journals

Popular Scholarly
Author Usually not expert in the field; may be journalist, staff writer Usually expert or respected professional in the field
Audience Usually the general public Usually academics, researchers, and students
Advertising Will usually contain many commercial advertisements Usually little, if any, advertising; any ads will be specialized
References Will not usually have references Will usually include an extensive list of references
Language Usually written at the general level Specialized vocabulary aimed at experts in the field
Length Shorter articles providing broad overview of topics Longer articles providing in-depth analysis of topics
Publisher Generally published by commerical enterprise or individual Mostly published by professional associations or academic institutions
Purpose Focus on current events and general interest topics Focus on reporting the results of research or experimentation
Review Policy Usually reviewed by editors Reviewed by peers and experts in the field

Periodical Directories

The following directory can be consulted for information on specific periodicals.

Academic Journals

Also known as scholarly, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals.

Appearance: Generally have a sober, serious look. May contain graphs and charts, but few glossy pages or photographs. Use scholarly language with vocabulary specific to their profession or field.

Audience: Written for academics and professionals.

Author/Authority: Articles written by researchers or scholars in the field who report the results of original research.

Citations: Articles include footnotes and a list of citations at the end of the article.

Content: Includes scholarly research for a particular profession or industry.

Frequency: Usually published bimonthly or quarterly.

Examples:

                  

General Interest Magazines

Appearance: Generally attractive and illustrated with colour photographs.

Audience: Written for the general public.

Author/Authority: Articles written by staff or freelance writer.

Content: Includes current events and special features.

Frequency: Usually published weekly or monthly.

Examples:

         

Distinguishing Types of Periodicals