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Periodicals: Periodicals

find articles in magazines, newspapers, and journals

What is a periodical?

Magazine rack image


A periodical is a source of information that is issued at regularly recurring intervals, such as monthly, weekly or quarterly. This guide will help you understand the different types of periodicals, when to use them and how to find them.

What is a periodical?

Image of types of periodicals

Periodicals can include:

  • newspapers (including news wires)
  • magazines
  • journals

Based on content and audience periodicals are categorized as popular or scholarly. Typically, newspapers and magazines are popular periodicals, while academic journals are scholarly periodicals.

Popular periodicals are further categorized as

  • Substantive: reliable sources of information on events and issues of public concern (i.e. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Popular: reflect the tastes of the general public and are often meant as entertainment (i.e. Sports Illustrated, People, Readers Digest)
  • Sensational: meant to arouse curiosity and cater to popular superstitions; language is elementary and inflammatory (i.e. National Enquirer, Star)
 Use only journals or substantive / serious popular periodicals in your research.
Adapted from "Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals." Olin Library, Cornell University. 

Use periodicals in your research

Review these sections in the IRIS tutorial "Explore Sources" module to learn where to find information. 

  • Information types
  • Magazines and journals

In the IRIS Find Information module these modules teach you how to find credible and relevant articles.

  • Periodical Indexes
  • Boolean operators

Find periodicals

A library database is your best source for periodical articles.  A few periodicals are available in print and microfilm formats in the Library.

Vol State has online subscriptions with these individual periodicals

Create a citation

Each periodical type has a different citation type. Identify the periodical type before creating the citation. 

Magazine: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical. Day Month Year: pages. Format of publication.

Newspaper: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper. Day Month Year: pages. Format of publication.

*If the newspaper is not well known, or if the city is not included in the name of the newspaper, include the city and state name after the title of the newspaper.

Journal: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal. Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Database. Format of publication.