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Types of Periodicals

When do you need for your research: books, magazine, journals or newspapers? Check out this research guide The Best Source Types.

Scholarly - Also known as academic, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals

PopularAlso known as general interest magazines

Trade MagazinesAlso known as professional or industry journals, newsletters, or magazines

"Peer reviewed" means that the article has gone through a vetting or review process.  That is, experts in the same field as the author of the article have evaluated the author's scholarship and made sure that his or her methods, research, theories, and conclusions are sound and backed up by other scholarship or research. Often, a double-blind peer-review process is used, where the author and reviewers are unknown to each other, to ensure that personal bias does not affect the evaluation of scholarship.

Journals may be scholarly or academic without necessarily being peer-reviewed.  In this case, a editor in the discipline or an editorial board makes the decision to publish another expert's work. Ask your professor whether or not your article needs to be peer-reviewed in addition to being scholarly.

Source Types


Used for


Scholarly Journals

(also called "academic journals")

·   Articles reviewed by experts in the field.

·   Contain original research and new discoveries; cover one or a few experiments.

·   Written for and by professionals in the particular field.

·   Long (10+ page) articles with sections such as abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion

·   Use language specific to the field.

·   Provide authors’ name and usually the credentials.

·   Include bibliographies of sources consulted at the end of articles.

·   Most illustrations are technical and used to explain a point in the article.


·   Reliable and valid scholarly content.

·   Updates on new discoveries and studies on a broad subjects.

·   In-depth analysis on the specific topics of a subject.  

·   References for relevant resources on your topic.


·   Limited coverage without much historical overview on a subject.

·   Uses the jargon and specialized vocabulary of the profession.




A library database can help you narrow down to or identify source types. 

1. Narrowing down your search.

A) For example, you are searching "campaign financing" in Business Source Premier. Here is the initial screen of results.



B) If you were to scroll down, on the left sidebar you would see a facet, or category, called "Source Types."   You can limit your search results immediately to a specific source type, and only those types of articles will display.




C) You will also notice a "Refine Your Search" facet that allows you to limit to "Scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals."





2.  Identifying a source. Here, we have chosen the first record from the search "campaign financing" above, an article called "The Lonely Death of Public Campaign Financing."

A) We clicked on the article title to open the full record display.  "Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy" sounds like a scholarly journal, but there is way to find out.

B) Click on the title of the journal in the "Source" field, which will open the record that describes that journal.




C) This is the record for the source, or journal title, itself.  We learn that "Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy" is an academic, or scholarly journal.





Note:  Different databases have different levels of specifity or terminology in identifying source types.  When in doubt about your source type, call a librarian at 896-5115.

  • Is this an article from a peer-reviewed journal?
  • Is this a popular or a scholarly source?
  • What type of magazine or journal do I have?


Ulrichsweb can answer your question! This database can be located in the link for Databases and Indexes on the RU Libraries' home page.


The Rider University Libraries subscribes to a database called Ulrichsweb that gives "detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals (also called serials) of all types: academic and scholarly journals, e-journals, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more."

You can search by journal title, keyword, ISSN number, and subject area.

Below is the record for a journal called Marvels & Tales.  This record tells you that Marvels & Tales is an academic or scholarly journal that is peer-reviewed