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Finding Scholarly Journals

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Quick Comparison

How to recognize and access different types of periodicals: scholarly, peer-reviewed, popular, trade/industry, magazines, newspapers

Popular (Magazines and Newspapers)

Provide information and entertainment to demographic segments of the public

Most of the periodicals you encounter--e.g., magazines and newspapers available at the grocery store or that appear in your Facebook feed) are categorized by publishers and librarians as "popular" periodicals. That is, they have wide readerships, usually have a profit-oriented purpose of increasing circulation and selling advertising space, and they cover ideas, issues, events, personalities, and activities that have popular appeal.

Time cover
Sports Illustrated cover
Newsweek cover
New York Times cover
Star magazine cover

Trade/Industry Journals

Provide practical business and industry news and information to workplace professionals

You probably haven't ever run across Global Cosmetic Industry or Ink World at an airport kiosk. That's because they have very narrow appeal, targeting particular industries.  They provide news about new products and processes, conferences and trade shows, and companies. Sometimes these are the only source of information about recent developments in business and industry.

Electric Light and Power cover
GCI magazine cover
Ink World cover
Restaurant News cover
Beverage Industry cover

Scholarly/Academic/Peer-Reviewed Journals

Provide well-sourced technical information to researchers and expert practitioners

The American Journal of Sociology and International Journal of Nursing Studies won't be making appearances at your local grocery checkout aisle. Journals like these, with circulations of two to four thousand, clearly aren't focused on wide appeal. They provide platforms for scholars to share groundbreaking research results that are often arcane and difficult to read for outsiders, and yet are often the only source for groundbreaking research in all fields, including humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences.

New England Journal of Medicine cover
Journal of the American Academy of Religion cover
AJS cover
Journal of Latin American Studies cover
Nursing Studies cover