Oklahoma State University

Journal, Periodical or Magazine?

What's the difference between a periodical and a magazine? What does "peer-reviewed" journal or "scholarly journal" mean? What is a trade publication? If you're really confused about all the jargon, here's a quick way to figure it all out.

Different publications have different audiences, so it's important to determine which audience is being addressed when you need to review them for course work.

Scholarly Journals

  • Authors are authorities in their fields.
  • Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies. 
  • Individual issues have little or no advertising. 
  • Articles must go through a peer-review or refeered process. 
  • Articles are usually reports on scholarly research. 
  • Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs. 
  • Articles use jargon of the discipline. 

Examples of Scholarly Journals:



Trade Publications

  • Authors are specialists in a certain field or industry.
  • Authors often mention sources, but rarely formally cite them in bibliographies.
  • Intended audience includes people in the industry or people seeking employment in the industry.
  • There is no peer review process.
  • Articles give practical information to people in an industry.
  • Some illustrations are included, usually charts, graphs, etc.
  • Authors use jargon of the industry.


Examples of Trade Publications:





Popular Magazines and Newspapers

  • Authors are magazine staff members or free lance writers. 
  • Authors often mention sources, but rarely formally cite them in bibliographies. 
  • Individual issues contain numerous advertisements. 
  • There is no peer review process. 
  • Articles are meant to inform and entertain. 
  • Illustrations may be numerous and colorful. 
  • Language is geared to the general adult audience (no specialized knowledge of jargon needed). 

Examples of Popular Magazines:



CML Journal Holdings


  • AIMS
  • ALAN Review                                                 Website
  • The Book Report                                            Electronic Access
  • Bookbird                                                          Electronic Access    
  • Booklinks                                                         Electronic Access    
  • Booklist                                                             Electronic Access 
  • BCCB    
  • Children’s Magazine Guide                                                                                                                    
  • Curriculum Review                                      Electronic Access   
  • Everyday TLC                                                                                                                                               
  • Edutopia                                                           Website
  • Green Teacher                                                Website
  • Horn Book                                                       Electronic Access
  • Horn Book guide                                            Website
  • Instructor                                                          Electronic Access
  • Kerlan Collection                                            Website
  • Kliatt                                                                  Website
  • Knowledge Quest                                           Electronic Access
  • Laura Ingles Wilder Lore                              Website
  • Lion & the Unicorn                                          Electronic Access
  • LMC                                                                   Electronic Access    
  • Mailbox (Intermediate)                                  Electronic Access
  • Mailbox (Primary)                                           v.5-26                                    
  • Mailbox (K-Grade 1)                                       v. 19-22                                 
  • Mailbox (Kindergarten)                                  v. 22-                                    
  • Mailbox (Grade 1)                                            v. 2-                                        
  • Mailbox (Grade 2-3)                                        v. 26-                                     
  • Media & Methods                                                 Electronic Access  
  • Rethinking Schools                                              Electronic Access
  • School Librarian’s Workshop                                                                                                                     
  • School Library Journal                                       Electronic Access
  • Science Books and Films                                      
  • Social Studies & the Young Learner               Electronic Access
  • Teaching PreK - 8                                                Electronic Access
  • Teacher Librarian                                                Electronic Access
  • Teaching Tolerance                                            Electronic Access
  • Technology & Learning                                      Electronic Access


Popular Magazines for K-12 Students