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Thigpen Library Research Guides

Periodicals: use & find periodicals

find articles in magazines, newspapers, and journals

PERIODICALS = newspapers, news wires, magazines, trade journals, and academic (scholarly peer reviewed) journals

The general purpose of a particular periodical helps you decide if it is a good source for your college assignment - "Periodicals: categories by purpose" explains this idea. Information on finding and citing periodicals are also available on this page.

Periodicals: categories by purpose

Periodicals are categorized as popular or scholarly based on content and audience. Typically, newspapers, news wires,  magazines, and trade journals are viewed as popular periodicals, while academic journals are classified as scholarly periodicals.

All popular periodicals are not the same. There are varying levels of credibility among the publications. Some periodicals have more entertainment purposes than value as a reliable news source. In addition to categorizing periodicals as an information (source) type, popular periodicals can also be categorized by purpose:

  • News and General Interest - purpose is to "provide information, in a general manner, to a broad audience of concerned citizen.Substantive news sources are accountable for the accuracy of their reporting and use recognized journalistic standards."
  • Popular - purpose is "to entertain the reader, to sell products (their own or their advertisers), or to promote a viewpoint"
  • Sensational and Tabloid "use elementary, inflammatory language meant to arouse curiosity, cater to popular superstitions, increase sales, and promote the publisher's political agenda"

Use journals or respected "News and General Interest" periodicals when doing research for college assignments.

Adapted from "Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals." Olin Library, Cornell University. 

Periodicals: find articles

Popular periodicals can be be published in print, online, or both. Online access through the web may be limited to subscribers.

Use a library database to find periodical articles from academic journals and quality general interest / news periodicals. Guides for individual subjects, like history or psychology, can help you find the best databases for your subject area.

The general interest periodical database ProQuest Research Library has periodicals from a variety of sources and is a good starting point for many research projects. CAUTION: While this database has are many quality journal articles and articles from substantive publications in the General Interest and News category some articles are from the "popular" categories and may not be the best choice.

The newspaper database U.S. Major Dailies has articles from newspapers in the General Interest and News category. This resource is updated daily.

Periodicals: find by name

The library subscribes to individual periodicals both in print and online. Select "single periodical subscription" from Database type on the A-Z Databases list to for links to current online subscriptions.


Find subscriptions available in print format with a title search in Pioneer Search: In the Library


Want to know if a particular periodical is available with full-text articles in a database? Use the A-Z Journal Title List. The list is not comprehensive but it finds periodicals from our major database subscriptions.

Periodicals: cite

It is important to identify the periodical type before creating the citation since each periodical type has a slightly different citation format and requires different information about the source. Identify the periodical type is easy because most library databases identify the periodical type with different symbols for a newspaper, magazine, or journal.

If you are using a newspaper article you need to make a note about the city of publication. A newspaper citation may require the name of the city if the newspaper is not well known or if the city is not included in the name of the newspaper.

Guides to help with Citations

The purpose of this guide is to inform users about using periodicals for their college assignments and link them to appropriate sources.

Images used on this guide are 1) available on the public domain, 2) created from a licensed resource, and/or 3) licensed under a Creative Commons license and used according to the terms in the license.