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Syracuse University Libraries

Library Research Guide for ENL 213

Periodical Types and Criteria

1. Read the Overview to learn about periodicals and "peer review."

2. Look through the Periodical Comparison Table to find out the differences and similarities between different types of periodicals (e.g., newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and scholarly journals).

3. Watch the Peer Review Video.

4. Read the Additional Resources and Evaluating Sources sections.

Overview

What is a periodical?

A periodical is a publication that is published on a regular or "periodic" basis. Depending on the type, periodicals may be published daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. Examples of periodicals include newspapers, magazines, and journals. In your college courses, you may be asked to use articles from "scholarly" or "peer reviewed" journals. These journals publish articles that have been reviewed by experts and scholars in a particular field. Peer review is a detailed process that helps determine whether or not an article is appropriate for publication in the journal and, if so, how the article may need to be revised before being published. Peer reviewed articles are considered high quality and important in the field.

Periodical Comparison Table

Authors Editors Audience Language Sources Advertising Examples
Journalists On staff General public Non-technical, brief

Quotes and facts often attributed in text; citations rare

Common, diverse New York Times, Globe & Mail, (Toronto, CA), Chicago Tribune
Authors Editors Audience Language Sources Advertising Examples
Journalists On staff General public Non-technical, consumer-focused

Quotes and facts often attributed in text; citations rare

Common, diverse Entertainment Weekly, Time, Good Housekeeping
Authors Editors Audience Language Sources Advertising Examples
Practitioners in field On staff General public Moderately technical vocabulary

Quotes and facts often attributed in text; citations rare

Selective, industry-focused

Brandweek, Restaurant Business, ArchitectAutomotive Industries

Authors Editors Audience Language Sources Advertising Examples
Scholars, researchers, experts in field Referees/ Peer Reviewers Scholars, researchers, experts in field Academic language and tone; technical vocabulary

Bibliographies and reference lists; footnotes and in-text citations

Rare, focused on related journals and conferences Journal of African American Studies, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Active Learning in Higher Education

Video: Peer Review (Credo ) (Login required)

Additional Resources

Evaluating Sources

Consider these criteria when determining if a source is appropriate for your research:

1. Authority: Is the author an expert in the field?

2. Accuracy: Does the source contain objective interpretation of evidence? Did the research study use appropriate methodology? Can you verify the information in other sources?

3. Currency: When was it published? New information is better in many cases, but older publications are valuable depending on context.

4. Relevance: Source should match research need (e.g., background information vs. in-depth research)

5. Objectivity: Should be based on evidence, not opinion. Look at publisher information to determine potential biases.

From Evaluating Sources Video (Credo)