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Dual Credit: What is a...?

What is a Periodical?

A periodical is anything that is published at regular intervals throughout the year such as a magazine, journal, or newspaper.

Magazine: A magazine is a collection of articles and images about diverse topics of popular interest and current events.  See the "What is a Popular Periodical?" section for more on magazines.

Journal: A journal is a collection of articles usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field.  See the "What is a Scholarly Article?" section for more on journals.

Newpaper: A newspaper is a collection of articles about current events usually published daily or weekly.  Since there is at least one in every city, it is a great source for local information.


What is a Popular Periodical?

Popular literature is written by journalists, who are employed by the magazine for which they write. Journalists cover news and current events in a field, write profiles of people, places, or events, and express political opinions. Some examples of popular literature are:


  • The New York Times
  • Newsweek
  • National Geographic
  • Psychology Today                                    
  • Natural History
  • The Nation
  • New Republic
  • Science News

What is a Scholarly Journal?

A journal is a collection of articles written by scholars in an academic or professional field.  The term peer-reviewed describes the editorial process by which many of these journals accept articles for publication. Authors who want to publish in the journal must first submit a copy to a review board consisting of fellow scholars (their peers).  These peers review the article for accuracy and relevance and decide whether it should be published in their journal.  Sometimes journals with this type of process are called refereed or juried.

  When Should I Use Scholarly Journals?

                                 - when doing scholarly research

                                               - to find out what has been studied on your topic

                                                   - to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research


   Where Can I Find Journal Articles?

                                -How Do I Start?

                                           To find journal articles start with a Database.

                                             -What is a Database?

                                                 Databases are collections of citations to articles from many different journals.  

                                                   -Can I Get Access to Databases From Home?

                                                       Yes, use your Missouri State University user ID and password to login to a database. 



What is a Database?

An electronic database is a list of articles covering different subject areas that can be easily searched.  Our databases can be accessed from the Indexes and Databases link from the Libraries home page but the main databases you will be using are listed in this guide. 

Some examples of our indexes and databases are:

Academic Search Complete


Project Muse

Discovering Collection

Literary Criticism Online

Points of View Reference Center

CQ Researcher



 Review the tabs in this guide to help you choose the best Index or Database for your topic.

Popular vs. Scholarly

Magazines serve a general audience and provide entertainment as well as information. Journals serve a scholarly audience and have a narrow subject focus.

  • Aimed at a general audience.
  • Cover a wide range of topics.
  • Frequently available at newsstands.
  • Contain articles usually written by professional writers or journalists.
  • Author credentials may or may not be identified.
  • Published by commercial presses.
  • Generally inform, update, or introduce a topic to a general reader.
  • Lack a bibliography or literature cited.
  • Examples include: Time, PC Magazine, Rolling Stone, etc
  • Aimed at scholarly readers.
  • Cover a narrow subject focus.
  • Usually available only by subscription.
  • Contain articles by experts in the subject area.
  • Authors credentials are always identified.
  • Frequently published by academic or association presses.
  • Include original research, reviews, or essays.
  • Articles are often reviewed/refereed by an author's peers before publication.
  • Often contains an abstract of the article on the first page.
  • Usually include bibliography or literature cited.
  • Examples include: American Historical Review, Journal of Wildlife Management, etc

Subject Guide

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Crystal Gale
110E Meyer Library