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Identifying Periodical Types

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There are various levels of scholarship found between scholarly journals, trade publications, and popular magazines. This guide is intended to help you distinguish between these publications. Librarians can help you choose which periodical databases or indexes to use in researching your topic or ask for help at any UM Library Information Desk.


Table of Contents



Scholarly Journals




American Ethnologist
Annual Review of Genetics
Journal of American History
Modern Theology
Social Psychology Quarterly

© American Economic Association.
Reprinted with permission.

© Organization of American Historians
Reprinted with permission

A scholarly journal (also known as peer-reviewed, juried, refereed, or professional) contains articles and research by scholars and experts in a specific field who wish to share their research with other professionals. Articles are usually based on original research and contain author credentials, abstracts and bibliographies. The following diagram illustrates some of the features that an article from a scholarly journal might have:



Trade Publications



Advertising Age
American Builder (Home builders)
American Libraries (Librarians)
American Nurse
Food Technology (Food Industry)
Director (Funeral industry)
Landscape Architecture

Food Technology is a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists, Chicago, Illinois Provided with permission of American Libraries, the Journal of the American Library Association July/August 1994

A trade publication or trade paper is a commercial periodical restricted to the interests of a trade or industry and includes all or some of the following: current news items, product reviews and advertisements, new publication reviews, job advertisements, industry specific regulatory information, articles on new techniqoes/trends, patents, statistical data, upcoming events/meetings, etc.


Popular Magazines



Rolling Stone
Sports Illustrated
U.S. News and World Report
Vanity Fair

A popular magazine contains current events and general interest articles written by journalists and freelance writers for the general public. Author credentials, abstracts and bibliographies are usually not included. Popular magazines are typically published weekly or monthly. Use a general index or database to find articles in popular magazines.


Need More Help?


Check out the Periodical Comparison Chart and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory for more information.