Distinguishing magazine, newspaper, and journal articles

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What are the differences between magazines, newspapers, and journal articles?

A magazine

A magazine is written for entertainment purposes. Its main focus is not to conduct a study and share the results. Its goal is to sell issues. Flashy titles, misleading cover stories, and brief coverage on a topic are standard magazine format. Use this as an example in your research project but not as a scholarly source.

Magazines are found through street vendors, bookstores, grocery stores, and airports. They can also be accessed on the Internet through their websites. The more scholarly focused magazines are Time, National Geographic, and The New Yorker.

Be warned you may be asked to pay to access their articles. If you have a local library or belong to college or university you should be able to access them there without a cost.

A newspaper

Newspapers have journalists adhere to a code of ethics, “Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics”. Unfortunately, they don’t always practice what they espouse. Sensational headlines, crafted to get the attention of readers, can give way to credible reporting. These sources, like magazines, should be used sparingly. Remember to direct quote from these sources whenever possible. Newspapers are found the same way as magazines and can also incur a cost to view. These are called “pay walls”.

Again, check with your local library, college or university to see if you can get access to the full text of newspaper articles. The Newspaper Index has a long list of newspapers’ websites from around the world.

An academic journal

Journal articles are studies conducted over a period of months or years dealing with a very specific issue. The researchers conducting the study go through many steps to assure university, government and organizational authorities their work is meaningful, well-planned, and does minimal harm to study participants. The final article produced is assessed by fellow researchers, not just copy editors, for methodology, validity, and contribution to the body of knowledge on the topic.

This is what you are looking for when writing your research project. These types of articles allow you to prove your argument or even push against your argument. Either way, they will be quoted and cited by you as part of the scholarly conversation.

Scholarly research articles, found in journals, can be accessed in many ways. Sometimes the association that produces the journal hosts it on their website, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Sometimes companies collect hundreds of journals into one place (a database) and charge access to search across all of them at once like Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur (IBZ) in the case searching is free but the articles are behind a paywall.

Finally, there are open platforms like Google Scholar that pull together the holds from various academic libraries around the world. Access is given to those who are members of those institutions; however, it does help you to know what is out there when searching for research on your topic.

Source: Tysick, C. (n.d.). Finding and using: Magazine, newspaper & journal articles. Adobe Spark. https://spark.adobe.com/page/5rYDKXgKE0LUT/