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What's a Periodical?

Two people stand in front of shelves full of information.

A periodical or serial is a publication that is published multiple times (periodically) on a regular schedule. Scholarly journals, popular magazines, trade publications, newspapers, and newsletters are examples of periodicals. These periodicals tend to target different audiences.

How will Periodicals Help Me?

Periodicals will be helpful when you are seeking current information or more concise material than is generally found in books.

Which Periodicals should I Use for My Assignment?

The sources that you select will depend on your specific assignment. Information from your professor (perhaps on your assignment, your syllabus, or directly from the professor) will tell you what types of resources will meet the parameters of the specific project. Please make sure that you consult the appropriate resources for the task.

Cornell Research Minutes: How to Identify Scholarly Journal Articles

Parts of a Scholarly Article

Why Do I Need Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) or Research Journals?

Scholarly or academic resources are periodical articles written by subject experts who have conducted research or experimentation in a specific field. Many are written by faculty members or other academicians, discussing topics of recent research. They are often reviewed, refereed or juried by other experts in the field. These articles often contain subject specific language or terminology,  and footnotes and/or bibliographies. The journals are normally printed on non-glossy paper.

Peer-Reviewed: articles written by scholars and reviewed by their colleagues who provide feedback and commentaries to the author prior to publication.

Refereed: Similar to peer-reviewed articles except the author doesn't necessarily know who reviewed the submitted work.

They provide you with excellent information!

What are (Popular) Magazines?

A picture of the cover of a magazine.

 Magazines are generally written by journalists, staff writers and guest writers and appeal to a general audience. Periodicals that are found at newsstands and grocery stores are usually newspapers or magazines.

Examples of titles of popular magazines include American Photo, Forbes, Parents, Time, Newsweek.

What do Primary and Secondary Sources Mean to Me?

Primary sources, vary somewhat by discipline, but generally are considered to be original resources (first-hand or eyewitness accounts). They may include newspaper articles, letters, diaries, memoirs, some journals, photos, artifacts, research data, government documents,  art work, and more.

Secondary sources (second-hand accounts) evaluate, analyze and/or interpret primary sources. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics taken from primary sources. They include newspapers, magazines, and some academic journals.

What are Trade Publications?

Trade publications are periodicals geared toward practitioners in specific fields and generally focus on a particular trade or profession. The articles are usually written by a subject specialist and rarely provide footnotes and bibliographies.