Scholarly Articles

What is a periodical?

The term periodical is a generic term that can include academic journals, popular magazines, professional journals, trade publications and newspapers. Periodicals are published on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. They offer news, opinion, commentary, scholarly analysis, literary criticism, and reports of research. They range from brief newsletters published by trade organizations to in-depth journals published by scientific societies and university presses. Most professors at the University level require that all or most of the periodical articles you use in writing research papers come from scholarly journals. This guide lists some comparative criteria that will help you determine if the publications you are using meets your assignment's requirements.

Why use periodicals?

  • Periodicals are often the best source of information on new or current topics.
  • The subject may be too narrow for publication in a book.
  • Older periodicals contain historical information.
  • In many disciplines periodicals are the major means of communication.

Types of periodicals

Popular periodicals (magazines)

These are the type of publications that you may subscribe to or purchase at the supermarket or bookstore. Articles from popular periodicals are usually not appropriate for assignments.

Scholarly periodicals (journals)

These are the type of publications that are not found in supermarkets or bookstores. The articles are serious in tone and the vocabulary can be difficult to understand.
Scholarly / Trade Publications - print version 

Peer reviewed and Refereed

Peer reviewed

Articles in peer-reviewed journals must pass the scrutiny of reviewers who are experts in the field or on the research topic of the article. In most cases the reviewers do not know who the author of the article is. Not all information in a peer-reviewed journal is reviewed. Editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews, and other types of information don't count as articles.


Articles in refereed journals must be reviewed by scholars or experts in the research topic of the article who are not members of the board or editorial staff of the journal. Peer reviewed and referred journals are frequently used interchangeably.