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Locating Magazines

Tutorial on locating magazine resources throughout the library's collection.

About This Guide

This guide covers magazine access through our library.  The contents include the following:

           A basic definition of magazines and their characteristics.

            An overview of the available print magazine collections held in our library.

            Tips for locating magazines in DragonQuest

            General guidance for using our A to Z list to locate databases containing magazines.

            Provides links to additional resources that were not otherwise mentioned.

What are magazines?

A magazine is a type of periodical, and a periodical is a type of publication that releases issues on a regular basis.  This means that they are published at timed intervals throughout any given year.  More specifically, a magazine is a "popular" periodical that covers a specific topic.  It is typically a topic of interest for a general audience.  They contain both articles and images and are considered non-scholarly sources. 

 

How do magazines differ from scholarly source materials?

Magazines are different from scholarly sources because they are not held to the same quality standards as scholarly works.  The following list shows key differences between magazines and scholarly materials.

Characteristics of Scholarly Materials

  • Follow a formulaic writing structure (abstract, methodology, discussion, conclusion, implications, etc.).
  • Data is present in charts, graphs, and in-text citations.
  • Work is geared towards an academic audience (and is clearly stated or implied in the source)
  • Authors consist of experts in the field.
  • Show evidence of peer-review.
  • Publishers are typically a university press or an academic organization.
  • Have a references page at the end of the work.

Compared to...

Characteristics of Magazines

  • Have an eye-catching cover with large text and colorful images.
  • Are geared towards a general audience, or the audience is not specified.
  • Authors could be staff writers or real names with no credentials.
  • Magazines are only reviewed by the magazine's editorial board.
  • References may or may not be listed.

The box below describes the different types of articles you may encounter while searching for periodicals.  Go to the "Magazines" tab for more information on the characteristics of magazines.

Periodical Article Types

Example

Cover of Comparative Political Studies with CPS and full title written and elongated image of the world against a plain green faded background

Note that cover art for scholarly publications is rather plain in comparison to the other types of resources you'll find.

Content

Articles recount original research, theory investigations, or field issue analyses. Article contents often follow a structure, such as abstract, method, discussion, and conclusion. Throughout the article, you may find tables, graphs, and in-text citations. These typically have few or no ads.
 

Audience

Because the articles are written with academic or technical jargon, the typical reader is someone with experience, a researcher, or a professional in the field.
 

Authors

Articles are often written by those like your professors, who are researchers, scholars, and/or professionals in the field. Somewhere in the article it likely lists the author's credentials and affiliations. 
 

Accountability

The journal will have an editorial board or have a peer-review process before the publisher prints. The publisher will likely be a university, a scholarly press, or an academic organization.
 

Reference Use

There will always be references at the end or throughout as footnotes.
 

Where To Find

Example

Cover image of Bloomberg Businessweek with business related topics listed

Content

The article is about current news, trends, forecasts, or employment opportunities. Any ads inside will be relevant to the industry itself such as products or professional organizations.
 

Audience

Because it is written for those within a specific industry, trade, or organization, it may have some specialized terminology throughout.
 

Authors

The articles are written by practitioners in the field, industry professionals, or journalists with subject expertise.
 

Accountability

The publisher, who will be a commercial publisher or a professional organization, will have a paid editor.
 

Reference Use

There will sometimes be in-text citations or a short reference section in the article.
 

Where To Find

Example

Cover image for Us Weekly includes numerous images of celebrities on a colorful cover.

Content

Articles appear sleek and glossy, often with inset pictures, enhanced text for easier skimming, and vibrant colors. Topics are typically framed in a popular culture context and articles are written for entertainment purposes. Ads, both inset and full page, are widely used throughout the publication.
 

Audience

The audience for a magazine article is the "average" person. They are typically written at a grade school reading level to accommodate a wide variety of readers.
 

Authors

Authors may or may not be known for magazine articles. Real names of some authors may be listed, while other articles may be attributed to "staff" writers or completely omit any reference to the article's author. Credentials are rarely listed. 
 

Accountability

Magazines are written to make money. Freelance and staff writers are often paid on a per article basis, whereby they sign over their rights to the material in order to receive payment. A magazine's editorial board reviews content for audience appeal but not necessarily accuracy. 
 

Reference Use

References may be listed occasionally. They may be noted in an image caption, as an example, but it is rare to find a formal References list in a magazine publication.
 

Where To Find

Example

Cover of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper with articles written in vertical columns down the page and large text headlines

Note that the appearance of a newspaper source differs from other sources. Newspapers may be stapled or folded, and are typically printed on newsprint. Newsprint paper lacks gloss or protective coating, so newspaper ink is more likely to stick on your fingers. Many newspapers are also printed in clearly defined columns.

Content

Newspapers are written to inform readers of current events, either locally or nationally. They may be published weekly or daily, and include factual as well as editorial information, obituaries, and community calendars. Ads are typically included, but isolated to certain areas or used in order to fill space. Ads may also be included as a separate insert after the paper was printed.
 

Audience

Newspaper articles are written for a general audience and are typically constructed at a grade school reading level. 

 

Authors

Articles may be written by staff writers or members of a local community. Authors may or may not be listed with an article, or the article may note that it was obtained through another news outlet such as the AP news feed.  
 

Accountability

Newspapers typically have an editor or team of editors. Editors may quickly fact check parts of articles or make adjustments based on grammar. There typically is no peer review process. The publication strategy of a newspaper is ultimately determined by the owning entity, whether that is an individual, group, or corporation.
 

Reference Use

Some articles may include references to source material, but there is no formal References list in a newspaper publication.
 

Where To Find