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How To - Distinguish between types of publications


The periodical literature is published on a regular (or periodic) basis and includes publications such as newspapers, magazines, and journals.  This literature has been used for centuries to communicate new information about events, popular thought, and scholarship.  

In this guide, we'll talk about different types of periodicals, their purpose, and the kind of information you can expect to get from them.  

There are 4 types of periodicals: 

Why do I need to know about different types of periodicals?

Different types of periodicals are suited for different purposes. Knowing what kind of periodicals you need can help you search more effectively! 

Here are a few examples of different information needs you might have, and what periodical types would be best for each need.

  1. Let's say you're looking for information about a current controversy being discussed by people in your future career field. Trade journals are probably your best bet, because they are specific to your field. Scholarly journal articles often go through a long, rigorous review process. As a result, they may not be as current enough to have information about that controversy. 
  2. Let's say you're looking for information about the best ways to manage students as a teacher. Scholarly journal articles would likely be best, because the authors usually spend considerable time researching and testing different methods.
  3. Let's say you're looking for information about a musician who has recently become popular. You're most likely to find information about that performer in popular magazines (possibly trade magazines, too).