Journals and magazines are important sources for up-to-date information in all disciplines. In this guide, periodical literature is divided into five categories:
- Substantive News or General Interest
- Scholarly journals generally have a sober, serious look. They often contain many graphs and charts but few glossy pages or exciting pages.
- Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies.
- Articles are written by a scholar in the field or by someone who has done research in the field.
- The language of scholarly journals is that of the discipline covered. It assumes some scholarly background on the part of the reader.
- The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the scholarly world.
- Many scholarly journals, though by no means all, are published by a specific professional organization.
Examples of Scholarly Journals
- American Economic Review
- Archives of Sexual Behavior
- JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
- Journal of Marriage and the Family(published by the National Council on Family Relations)
- Modern Fiction Studies
- Professional periodicals are written to inform people who need to keep up with news, commentary and analysis in their fields.
- Professional periodicals are written to inform people with occupational interest in news, commentary, and analysis of issues in their fields.
Examples of Professional Periodicals
- Women's Wear Daily
- Science Digest
- Law and Order
- Regan Report on Nursing Law
- Sales and Marketing Management
Substantive News or General Interest
- These periodicals may be quite attractive in appearance, although some are in newspaper format. Articles are often heavily illustrated, generally with photographs.
- News and general interest periodicals sometimes cite sources, though more often do not.
- Articles may be written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar, or a freelance writer.
- The language of these publications is geared to any educated audience. There is no specialty assumed, only interest and a certain level of intelligence.
- They are generally published by commercial enterprises or individuals, although some emanate from specific professional organizations.
- The main purpose of periodicals in this category is to provide information, in a general manner, to a broad audience of concerned citizens.
Examples of Substantive News or General Interest Periodicals
- Christian Science Monitor
- National Geographic
- New York Times
- Scientific American
- Vital Speeches of the Day
- Popular periodicals come in many formats. They are slick and attractive in appearance and contain many graphics, photographs, drawings, etc.
- These publications rarely, if ever, cite sources. Information published is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure.
- Articles are usually very short, written in simple language and are designed to meet a minimal education level. There is general little depth to the content of these articles.
- The main purpose of popular periodicals is to entertain the reader, to sell products (their own or their advertisers) and/or to promote a viewpoint.
Examples of Popular Periodicals
- People Weekly
- Readers Digest
- Sports Illustrated
- Sensational periodicals come in a variety of styles, but often use a newspaper format.
- Their language is elementary and occasionally inflammatory or sensational. They assume a certain gullibility in their audience.
- The main purpose of sensational magazines seems to be to arouse curiosity and to cater to popular superstitions. This is often accomplished using flashy headlines designed to astonish (e.g., Half-Man Half-Woman Makes Self Pregnant).
Examples of Sensational Periodicals
- National Examiner
- Weekly World News