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Research Help: Journals & Magazines Explained


Usually referred to as general interest or popular magazines. They are written for the general public and often focus on news, offer entertainment, or provide brief information about diverse topics.

  • Rarely include citations
  • Often heavily illustrated 
  • Often with many colourful advertisements
  • Written for non-experts (often by non-experts)

Helpful when you need:

  • Analysis of current events
  • Personal narratives and opinions
  • Interviews of well-known people
  • Reviews of products, movies, and performance

How to recognize in a database?

  • look for tip-off words such as:
    • Magazine
    • Digest
    • Illustrated
    • Popular
    • Weekly
    • Names of popular interests or hobbies (e.g., sports, games, science)
    • Target audience (e.g., consumer, teens, New York )


Journals are intended for academic research or members of a profession. Journal articles are written for experts or college students in the academic field or discipline.They include original research, critical analysis, and review of prior research.

  • Also referred to as scholarly journals or research journals.
  • Author's name is listed with affiliations/credentials (universities associated with, other writings, etc.)
  • Often peer-reviewed (but not always)
  • Usually lengthy.
  • Include a list of references at the end.
  • Examples: Journal of Applied Psychology, New England Journal of Medicine

​Helpful when you need:

  • critical anyalsis
  • in-depth explanations

How to recognize in a database?

  • Look for the following words in the title:
    • Journal
    • Review
    • Studies
    • Research
    • Quarterly
  • Has a reference list at the end

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