Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
View current library hours and information

Resource Guide: Journals v. Magazines: Home

Information to help you understand the differences between magazines and journals

Journals v. Magazines

Journals and magazines are two kinds of periodicals (publications issued periodically).  Both can contain well-researched and up-to-date material that is not yet available in other formats, but journals and magazines differ from each other in important ways.

Journals  Magazines
Audience: Audience:
  • most often scholarly readers (i.e., professors, researchers, and students)
  • people who work in a particular field
  • others with assumed knowledge of the subject
  • most often a general audience
  • occasionally people in a particular trade
Article Authors: Article Authors:
  • experts in their field
  • sign the articles they write and give their credentials
  • not usually paid for articles; writing is a contribution to scholarship
  • most often generalists or non-specialists
  • sometimes do not sign articles
  • usually paid by publishers for articles
Purpose: Purpose:  
  • to present original research, experiments, and information, usually quite focused
  •  to report, entertain, promote a viewpoint, and/or advertise
Writing Style:
Writing Style:
  • often written in language particular to the field of study, assuming readers have some background in the field
  • follows a standardized citation style format like APA, MLA, or Turabian
  • written for anyone to understand
  • often does not cite sources or cites using a non-standardized citation style
Features: Features:
  • often peer-review articles before selecting for publication
  • include bibliographies or lists of references
  • often include formal research methodology, with methods, data, and conclusion sections
  • often provide illustrations that support the text, such as maps, diagrams, and tables
  • contain few advertisements
  • usually include no bibliographies nor lists of references
  • often printed on glossy paper and profusely illustrated for marketing appeal
  • may be laden with advertisements
Titles: Titles:
  • sometimes include the word “journal,” such as Journal of Psychology
  • sometimes include the word “magazine,” such as PC Magazine

Research Assistance

More ways to get help:

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography