GPC Libraries Clarkston (JCLRC) General Magazines (and Newspapers) and Scholarly Journals

General Magazines (and Newspapers) and Scholarly Journals

Both general magazines/newspapers and scholarly journals contribute valuable information to papers and projects. Knowing the differences between different types of sources helps you decide which ones work best for your needs.

What makes these sources credible?
General magazines/newspapers often have reputations to defend. Editors and fact checkers make sure articles are truthful and accurate. Scholarly journals often rely on peer review, editing by fellow experts, to check the quality of research articles.
Who writes the articles?
General magazine/newspaper authors can include famous journalists, politicians, and well known writers. They can also be anonymous members of the staff. Scholarly journal authors are scientists, researchers, and expert literature critics. Authors usually list their employers along with their names.
What kind of material can I find in each source?
General magazines/newspapers are the source for current events. Newspapers often offer local coverage available nowhere else. If you want today’s news, the BEST source is the web site of a daily newspaper or news service. Scholarly journals often publish information that is several months old, but they are the source for literary criticism and research studies.
Are magazines, newspapers, and journals PRIMARY SOURCES?
General magazines/newspapers publish interviews, letters, and columns by famous writers, as well as short stories, and poetry. These are all PRIMARY SOURCES. Scholarly journals in the sciences and some social sciences feature research articles. These articles are PRIMARY SOURCES.
Are magazines, newspapers, and journals SECONDARY SOURCES?
General magazine/ newspaper articles, except for letters and interviews, are SECONDARY SOURCES. Scholarly journal articles in the humanities and history are SECONDARY SOURCES. THIS INCLUDES LITERARY CRITICISM.
Do general magazines/newspapers and scholarly journals look different?
General magazines/newspapers often have a glossy feel. They have consumer advertising along with bright, shiny, color illustrations and cartoons. Scholarly journals have either no advertising or advertising targeted at a professional audience. Illustrations are graphs, charts, and scientific photographs.
Do magazines, newspapers and journals suggest where I can learn more about a topic?
General magazines/newspapers almost never have works cited lists. Magazine and newspaper websites sometimes offer links to additional material. Scholarly journal articles nearly always end with a works cited list, which leads to additional information.
How can I find general magazines/newspapers or scholarly journals?
You can find general magazines/newspapers through databases on GALILEO Restrict Academic Search Complete to Magazines. LexisNexis is GALILEO’s source for current newspaper articles. You can find scholarly journals through specialized databases on GALILEO such as MLA Bibliography. Restrict Academic Search Complete to Academic Journals. Literature Resource Center’s Literary Criticism tab is also a great place to find scholarly journal articles that are LITERARY CRITICISM.

Would you like to know more about an unfamiliar journal?
Search for your journal in JournalSeek to get a brief description of its purpose and publisher. To learn whether the library has full text articles from that journal, select Journals A-Z in GALILEO.

What is a peer reviewed journal?
A team of experts in a particular subject, read, prescreen, and recommend articles for publication in a peer reviewed or refereed journal. The peer review process is a means of quality control for scholarly papers. Without review by outside experts, frauds like the Sokal Affair can occur.

How do you make sure a particular journal is peer reviewed?
Use JournalSeek to learn more about the journal. Then click the link that JournalSeek provides to that journal's publisher. Sometimes it is also necessary to click an Instructions for Authors link that some publishers provide.