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MUC 321 Spring 2018: About Periodicals

About Periodicals

Periodical literature is essential to the study of almost any field. Some of the most valuable research appears first (or exclusively) in journals. You can’t do thorough research without consulting periodicals. Periodicals come in three main flavors. The distinctions are often gray and the lines can be hard to draw, but as general guidelines:

  • Journals typically report the results of original research. Articles (often quite lengthy) are generally subject to some kind of peer review process. Advertisements are low-key and may be confined to the back pages. Many are published quarterly or less often.
  • Magazines tend to contain shorter articles that may or may not present original research. Contents can range from profiles of prominent people to instructional tips to guides to music in a particular city. Peer review processes vary. Often glossier than journals, and may feature many advertisements. Issued anywhere from quarterly to weekly.
  • Newspapers are issued daily or weekly, and feature (usually) briefer articles of current news. No peer review.

Each type of periodical serves its own purpose and audience. Each may prove crucial to a given project. Don’t ignore the reporting and quality writing that appears in many newspapers. They can be an excellent primary source of information.

Subject Guide

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Paul Cary
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