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Journals & magazines -- finding and using....: Journal or magazine?

This guide will help you understand the difference between scholarly or academic journals and magazines.

What's the difference?

Guide overview

For most research papers your instructor will require you to find journal or scholarly articles. This guide will help you determine if you are finding appropriate academic articles. You will also learn:

  • What peer reviewed, refereed or juried journals are
  • The characteristics of magazines and journals                                        
  • When it is appropriate to use magazines in your research
  • How to use the library's databases to limit your research to scholarly journals

What is a journal?

Journals are a primary means of communication among professionals and/or scholars in a particular field. Articles in journals report on original research or experiments. Before an article is published it is reviewed by a panel of experts. This review process is known as peer review or juried review. Articles that go through this process are "refereed". Journal articles will always have a detailed bibliography or works citied list. Journals are usually published by associations, universities or research institutions.

What is a magazine?

Magazines are usually commercially published, and cover current or popular topics. This type of publication can provide a good overview or summary of a topic. Magazine articles can be opinionated or represent a very specific point of view. Magazines are illustratred and likely carry advertising.

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