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net.TUTOR: Finding Articles

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2. Finding Articles: What are they?

An article is defined as "a nonfiction composition that forms an independent part of a publication." Sounds pretty broad, doesn't it?  Seems like it'd cover entries in encyclopedia, newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, blogs, and so on.

 

This tutorial will focus on articles published in periodicals -- regularly issued (or serial) publications like magazines or journals.  Individuals, libraries, or businesses often get access to these by subscriptions - paying to access via print and/or online 

Note: Articles in newspapers (also a type of periodical) are covered in the News Sources tutorial.

There are three major categories of periodicals on which we'll be focusing:


Magazines (Popular)
Audience:
  • General public
  • Interested readers

Characteristics:

  • Articles, often with catchy titles, written by staff writers
  • Articles often under 5 pages
  • Glossy covers
  • Color photographs
  • Numerous advertisements
  • Do not usually include footnotes or lists of references
  • Nearly anyone can read or understand them

Usual frequency:

  • Monthly
  • Weekly

Usually published by:

  • Commercial publishers

Uses:

  • News
  • Opinion
  • Background
  • Entertainment

How articles get published:

  • Approved by editor

Cost:

  • Subscriptions are often cheap and you can often find issues in a book or grocery store
Examples (click image to view online, OSU only):

 
Trade (Professional)
Audience:
  • Professionals in the targeted field (ex: teachers, nurses, artists)

Characteristics:

  • Targets a specific field/profession
  • Articles written by staff writers or experts in the field
  • Articles usually under 10 pages
  • Glossy covers
  • Color photographs
  • Numerous targeted advertisements
  • Sometimes include footnotes or lists of references
  • Language used is a bit more complicated than magazines and might contain jargon from the profession

Usual frequency:

  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly

Usually published by:

  • Professional societies
  • Commercial publishers

Uses:

  • Trends and news from the targeted field
  • Reviews of relevant books
  • Case Studies

How articles get published:

  • Approved by editor

Cost:

  • Subscriptions are often cheap to moderate (sometimes free with membership in a society). 
Examples (click image to view online, OSU only):

Journal (Scholarly)
Audience:
  • Researchers
  • Experts

Characteristics:

  • Focused on a specific subject area
  • Long articles (commonly over 10), written by specialists
  • Covers often (but not always) plainer
  • Few advertisements
  • Always include footnotes and lists of references
  • Language used is a lot more complicated than magazines and will likely not be understood by non-specialists

Usual frequency:

  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly

Usually published by:

  • Professional associations
  • Commercial publishers
  • Universities

Uses:

  • Findings of research projects
  • Data and analysis
  • Case studies

How articles get published:

  • Approved by peer reviewers OR
  • Approved by editor

Cost:

  • Subscriptions are often moderate to expensive

Examples (click image to view online, OSU only):

 

 



Practice

See if you can spot the type - examine some periodicals and see if you can find out what type they are in the Periodicals Practice activity.



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