Types of Sources
Magazines publish articles on topics of popular interest and current events. The articles are written by journalists and are for the general public.
Magazines, like journals and newspapers, are called "periodicals" because they are published at regular intervals throughout the year. You can find print magazines at newsstands and in libraries. Some are now available on the Web as electronic magazines.
Use a Magazine
- to find information or opinions about popular culture
- to find up-to-date information about current events
- to find general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in the topic area
Examples of Magazines
- U.S. News and World Report
- Business Week
- Sports Illustrated
Journal articles are written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board reviews articles to decide whether they should be published. Journal articles may cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research.
Since journals are published at periodic intervals, they are grouped in the category called "periodicals." They may be in print format or on the Web as electronic journals. Your library purchases subscriptions to most journals.Use a Journal
- when doing scholarly research
- to find out what has been studied on your topic
- to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research
Examples of Journals
- Journal of Communication
- The Historian
- Journal of Business Research
Newspapers provide articles each day about current events and are a good source for local information.
Newspapers, like journals and magazines, are called "periodicals" because they are published regularly, or periodically.
Use a Newspaper
- to find current information about international, national and local events
- to find editorials, commentaries, expert or popular opinions
- Wall Street Journal
- New York Times
- Houston Chronicle
You can find newspapers in print or microfilm format, or on the Web as electronic newspapers. Most newspapers are made available to you by subscriptions purchased by your library. Many newspapers have their own Web sites with today's news, and sometimes they provide earlier, popular articles free.
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Periodical indexes (also called article indexes or article databases) include the citations of articles in magazines, journals and newspapers.
Some periodical indexes contain abstracts or brief summaries of the articles. A few contain the full text or entire content of whole articles as they originally appeared in the periodical.
Online periodical indexes, purchased by the library are accessible from the library website. The library also owns print indexes, good for researching older materials. For example, the New York Times print index goes back to 1851!
Use a Periodical Index when you want to find articles on your topic in magazines, journals or newspapers.
Below is a sample search interface for Academic Search Complete. You would use keywords for your topic to fill in the search boxes. The more terms, the narrower your search.
- Academic Search Complete (indexes articles from all types of periodicals on many different subjects)
- Health Reference Center Academic (an index to articles about health and medicine)
- Opposing Viewpoints (database of information for both sides of argumentative topics)