Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

LEP 101: Types of Articles

What's in a Database?

Databases contain many different types of resources such as:

  • newspaper articles
  • magazine articles
  • scholarly journal articles
  • book reviews
  • conference proceedings
  • trade publications
  • even some books

It is important to be able to tell the differences between these resources as well as know which resources are appropriate for your research. Check out the table on the right to learn the differences between some of these resources.

Types of Journals and Periodicals

This chart provides descriptions of various types of periodicals/journals. Use this chart to help differentiate between different types of publications. Knowing how to tell the differences between various resources is an essential aspect of the research process.


Types of Publications

  Scholarly/ Peer Reviewed Journals Professional/ Trade Journals Commentary/ Opinion Journals Popular Magazines Newspapers
Examples  American Journal of Sociology
 Journal of Experimental Psychology
American Teacher
Science News
Mother Jones
National Review
New Republic
New York Times
Primary Use or Value  Original research Current trends, professional news, company information Social & political commentary & analysis, political viewpoints Entertainment, current events, hot topics, popular culture  Current news, local & regional information, classified ads
Language Academic, technical Written for practitioners. Can use jargon extensively Most written for a generally educated audience Non-technical language  Non-technical, written for a general audience
Authors Researchers, academics, professors, scholars Professionals in the field or journalists with subject expertise Variable: academics, journalists, spokespersons for "groups" Mainly journalists, occasionally freelance journalists  Journalists
Source Citations Footnotes, bibliographies. Often extensive documentation Occasional brief bibliographies. Some sources cited in text Occasionally cite sources in text or bibliographies Rarely cite any sources Rarely cite sources in full
Publisher Universities, scholarly presses, or academic/ research organizations Commercial publishers or professional/ trade associations Commercial publishers or non-profit organizations Commercial publishers Commercial publishers
Graphics and Advertising Graphs, charts, formulas, depending on discipline. No glossy ads Photographs, charts, tables, illustrations. Some ads for products related to the field Wide variety of graphics, from plain to glossy ads Very glossy. Full of color ads Pictures, charts, ads of all sorts  
Finding Aids/ Access Tools  Some from general indexes like MegaFile, some in specialized indexes like PsychInfo Indexes like Business Source Premier. sometimes also in general scholarly indexes like Academic Search Premier General indexes like MegaFile, Academic Search Premier General indexes like MegaFile, Academic Search Premier In indexes like Newspapers. Some major papers in general indexes

Adapted with permission from G. Gradowski, who kindly provided an update of the chart from Gradowski, G., Snavely, L., & Dempsey, P. (1998) Designs for active learning: A sourcebook of classroom strategies for information education. Chicago: ACRL.