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Economics: Types of Sources


Periodicals are publications that are printed and distributed at regular intervals. There are three main types of periodicals:


Why identify publication types?

It is important to be aware of the different types of publication sources so that when you are conducting research you know what publication source will meet your information need. Also, in order to properly cite a source, you need to identify it’s publication type to determine the correct formatting. Determining publication type can be more challenging when viewing an article in electronic format since there is often less context.

Academic Journal Characteristics

covers of five academic journals

  • Purpose is for educating
  • Articles written by scholars and experts
  • Articles are in-depth and long
  • Language of articles is technical
  • Sources are cited
  • No advertising
  • Graphs, charts and illustrations are used to show research

Scholarly vs. Popular

Academic Journals are considered scholarly sources because they are created to further knowledge in academic fields and educate, while newspapers and magazines are considered popular sources because they are created to entertain.

Scholarly or Peer Reviewed Articles

Professors will oftne ask you to use a Scholarly or Peer Reviewed article.  The 5-minute clip below explains what Peer Review means and why it is important.

Created by North Carolina State University Libraries

Newspaper Characteristics

stack of newspapers with generic headline reading "news"

  • Purpose is for entertaining
  • Articles written by journalists
  • Articles published daily
  • Usually no citation
  • Articles written to report current events
  • Articles are often short in length
  • Pictures and headlines used to grab attention

Magazine Characteristics


  • Purpose is to entertain
  • Articles written by journalists
  • Uses flashy pictures and headlines to attract readers
  • Normally no citations included
  • Articles about current events and culture
  • Published monthly and sometimes weekly
  • Written for the general public thus writing is easy to understand