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Publication Types

There are different types of periodicals, including journals, magazines and trade publications. For many assignments your instructor will specify the types of sources you should consult in your research. Use the definitions and descriptions listed below to identify the proper sources.



Trade & Professional Journals

Popular Magazines

Scholarly-Peer Reviewed/Academic Publications


Newspapers contain current news, editorials, feature articles, and advertising.
Funded through advertisements and subscriptions.

Trade journals are written for a specific audience and target a specific industry or type of trade/business. Contain industry and current issues for a particular profession. Do not contain original research because they are more focused on applying research to real-life situations. Partially funded through advertisements.


Popular magazines cover diverse topics for general audiences. Authors are not always listed. Contain photos and eye-catching graphics. Mainly funded through advertisements.

These publications report original research. Articles are considered authoritative because experts in the field review articles for accuracy. Articles include footnotes and/or a bibliography. Language is technical and includes discipline-related jargon. Scholarly sources may also be referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed. Funded through subscriptions—not advertisements.

Publication Frequency

Daily or weekly

Weekly, biweekly or monthly

Weekly or monthly

Quarterly or semiannually


To inform and provide current event awareness and general interest information.

To report on industry trends, new products or techniques useful to people in a profession, trade or business.

To inform and entertain.

To report on original research or experimentation to the scholarly world.


Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by staff writers or industry professionals. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by staff writers or journalists. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by scholars, researchers, and academics. Peer reviewed


General public

Professionals who have expertise in the subject

General public

Scholars, college students, experts, or specialists in the field.


Generally printed on newsprint in black ink

Usually glossy and larger in size (8.5" x 11").

Usually glossy, larger in size (8.5" x 11"), and have numerous illustrations.

Few illustrations, smaller in size (6" x 9"), thicker, and with a plain cover. Contain charts, tables, and graphs to support research findings.


Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Times, L.A. Times, The Economist

World Trade, CPA Technology Advisor, Beverage World, PC Market, CIO, Fast Company

Forbes, Fortune, Money, Business 2.0, Business News

Journal of Accounting Research Journal of Investing, Journal of Management, Business Communication Quarterly, Journal of Leadership, Organizational Studies



Sometimes biases or opinioned

Sometimes biased or opinioned



Good for finding current information or reports on events after they initially occurred.

Excellent for product, marketing, or industry research because they contain industry and market information.

Excellent starting points for academic paper topics.

Sources of original research, in-depth analysis of topics, statistical information, and academic book reviews.

Databases Containing This Type of Publication

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), LexisNexis Academic, Factiva

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), Business and Industry (RDS) (Gale),Factiva

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), Business Source Premier (EBSCO),LexisNexis Academic,Factiva

Business Source Premier (EBSCO),ABI/INFORM (ProQuest)

Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary?

Secondary, except letters, diary entries, and interviews contained in newspapers are considered primary sources

Secondary, except interviews (legal proceedings, personal, telephone, e-mail) are considered primary sources.



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Please send questions and comments to leticia_camacho@byu.edu

Leticia Camacho
Business Librarian
1521 Harold B. Lee Library
(801) 422-1970