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*Library research basics

Journals - Scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed

Provide well-sourced technical information to researchers and expert practitioners

  • appeal to specialists, academics, researchers, post-secondary students
  • authors are experts in their field, affiliated with an institution or university. Author's credentials usually listed.
  • reporting results of original research and experimentation
  • provide in-depth coverage; articles tend to be lengthy
  • use specialized language of the discipline
  • platforms for scholars and researchers to share their research and discoveries with others who are also experts in their field
  • articles reviewed by a panel of experts before acceptance for publication (juried, refereed, peer reviewed)
  • specific sources used in research are included in citations, footnotes, bibliography or reference list

Popular - magazines & newspapers

Provide information and entertainment to the general reader

  • they have wide readerships; use everyday language
  • rely heavily on advertisements targeted to consumers as a source of revenue
  • they cover ideas, issues, events, personalities, and activities that have popular appeal
  • their appearance is often attractive, with eye-catching graphics, shorter articles, pictures, advertising
  • authors are usually professional writers or journalists. Unsigned articles by staff writers
  • checked for accuracy by the editor, but bibliography or source list rarely provided

Mac'ean's magazine coverCanadian Geographic magazine cover

Trade - professional publications

Provide business and industry news and information to workplace professionals

  • publications with a very narrow appeal, targeting particular industries or professions
  • advertising is often geared to the profession
  • provide news about new products and processes, conferences and trade shows, and companies
  • written with a relevant profession in mind, but are generally pretty accessible; lay readers will still be able to understand the articles 
  • authors of trade journal/magazine articles are often members of a relevant field or profession. Usually their professional designation will be indicated
  • sometimes the only source of information about trends in business and industry
  • may include references but will not be as extensive as a scholarly article

Cooks Illustrated magazine coverFine Woodworking magazine coverAccounting Today magazine coverCanadian Grocer magazine cover