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Start Here: How do I pick the right materials for my research?

Do you know the difference between a scholarly journal, a magazine, and a trade publication?

FROM: How to Do Research: In the Library and Beyond : A Guide for Students
by Marian Weston     





 Also called:








magazines: glitzy cover; glossy paper; lots of color photos & graphics

newspapers: newsprint; photos & graphics


many advertisements


 Make magazine cover

industrial/ professional motif on cover

usually glossy paper but may be newsprint; may have color photos & graphics

ads aimed at those in industry or profession

 Current Issue - Jan 2015

plain cover


often plain paper; if illustrated, usually graphs & charts with little color

few, if any ads

  Fashion theory journal cover


general public

(often sold in stores & on newsstands)

members of specific industry or profession

scholars, researchers, students, professors


usually short unsigned articles without bibliographies


written by magazine/newspaper staff or by freelance writers



short to medium length articles; rarely include bibliographies; may be signed; written by staff or contributing authors  involved in the industry or profession

industry information, news, products,  techniques, statistics; often job ads

long articles with abstracts at beginning & extensive footnotes & bibliographies; use language of the discipline; authors always indicated & are scholars/researchers in field

research projects including methodology and theory



general editors of  magazine/newspaper review  articles



general editors of  journal review  articles; editors often have experience &/or education within  industry or profession


often published by trade association

articles reviewed by board of scholars in subject field before accepted for publication (hence, peer-reviewed); publication editors are usually scholars in field as well.


often published by  professional organization or university



primarily to produce profit for publisher; also may be to sell ad products, entertain, promote point of view, provide information

provide news and information to people in specific industry or profession

report or inform on original research or experimentation


each issue starts with page one


each issue starts with page one

continuous paging throughout issues of volume



Business Week, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vogue, New York Times, Make

WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), Global Cosmetic Industry, Advertising Age, HFN

Fashion Theory, Journal of Marketing Research, Textile History

NOTES regarding the chart above: 
Within each category of periodical, there may be some variation.  For example, the popular or consumer magazines category includes both magazines with very short articles directed at the general public, such as People Magazine, and magazines with more substantial articles that are geared to a more specific and educated audience, such as The Economist, ArtNews, or Scientific American.  Also be aware that each periodical in a category may not have all of the characteristics listed for that category.

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