ANTH Courses: Finding Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Why Use Different Types of Articles?

Why use a variety of source types?

Different types of articles give you different flavors of the information you need, and knowing which type of article is best for YOUR particular research project will save you time and frustration. 

  • Take a moment to review the tabs in the box below. 
    • Notice the unique features of these source types and the ways they discuss topics 

Source Types - How do they differ?

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photo of newspapers

Newspapers

These articles are good both for finding recent information on a topic (what has happened in the last week or month) as well as finding out how historical events were reported in the past (for example, how was the AIDS crisis first reported in the 1980s?)

Appearance: 
  • Generally printed on newsprint in black ink.
Audience:
  • Written for the general public.
Author/Authority:
  • Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists.
Citations:
  • Will sometimes cite sources, a scholar, or a freelance writer.
Content:
  • Includes current events and special features.
Frequency:
  • Usually published daily or weekly.

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photo of some popular magazine coversPopular Magazines

These articles are good for summarizing information on a topic for the general public.  They often provide a background, summarize research findings, and provide some analysis of a topic.

Appearance:
  • Generally attractive and illustrated with color photographs.
Audience:
  • Written for the general public.
Author/Authority:
  • Articles written by staff or freelance writer.
Content:
  • Includes current events and special features.
Frequency:
  • Usually published weekly or monthly.

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photo of trade journals

Trade Journals

*Sometimes called Professional Journals or Industry Journals

These articles are good to keep people in a particular field of work or trade (veterinarians, police officers, hotel managers, teachers, librarians, advertisers...etc.) up-to-date on trends in their line of work.  Articles often summarize and analyze findings from scholarly research.

Appearance: 
  • Generally attractive and are often illustrated with color photographs
Audience:
  • Written for industry professionals.
Author/Authority:
  • Articles written by staff writers, though the magazine may sometimes accept articles from industry professionals.
Citations:
  • Occasionally list references at the end of the article or provide footnotes within the text.
Content:
  • Includes current events and special features within a particular profession or industry.
Frequency:
  • Usually published biweekly or monthly.      

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a photo of some print journals

Scholarly journals

*Sometimes called Scholarly, Academic, Peer-reviewed or Refereed

These articles are good to find results of scientific or academic research.  They are written for scholars and provide in-depth analysis of a very specific area of your topic 

Appearance: 
  • Generally have a sober, serious look. May contain graphs and charts, but few glossy pages or photographs. Use scholarly language with vocabulary specific to their profession or field. May often have headings in article such as "literature review" "methods" "results" and "discussion." 
Audience:
  • Written for academics and professionals.
Author/Authority:
  • Articles written by researchers or scholars in the field who report the results of original research.
Citations:
  • Articles include footnotes and a list of citations at the end of the article.
Content:
  • Includes scholarly research for a particular profession or industry.
Frequency:
  • Usually published bimonthly or quarterly.

Images: All images in this tabbed box were taken by GRC librarians

Video: How Library Stuff Works: Scholarly vs Popular Sources

Source: "How Library Stuff Works: Scholarly vs. Popular Sources" by McMaster Libraries, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn about the differences between scholarly and popular sources and how to identify them when researching your topic.