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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.

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What is a periodical?

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/Scholarly: 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. 

Find periodicals

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

Vol State has online subscriptions with these individual periodicals