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Article Search Tips: Terms to Know

This guide provides tips that can be used when searching for articles in databases; including how to locate the full text of articles.

Periodicals (journals, newspapers, magazines, etc.)

Terms to Know:

  • Journals

A journal is a collection of articles or other material such as reports, proceedings, or transactions issued by a society, an organization, or an institution.

It is typically published on a monthly, quarterly or yearly schedule.

It reports original research or experimentation and is focused on a particular field (business, history, education, etc.).

It is written by and for scholars in the field.

It uses terminology (words, jargon, buzzwords) that would be familiar to researchers in the field.

The format is plain, and there may be photographs, graphs, or charts that refer back to the information being discussed.  

There will be sources cited, usually in the form of footnotes, end notes, or bibliographies.

Not all, but many scholarly journals are also refereed or peer reviewed journals.

Examples include: Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, and Journal of Psychology

  • Magazines

A magazine is a publication containing a variety of articles and is generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, or both. It is typically published on a weekly or monthly schedule.

Examples include: Vogue, Business Week, Fortune, and Time.

  • Newspapers

A newspaper is a serial publication issued either daily, on certain days of the week, or weekly.

It contains news, editorial comment, regular columns, letters to the editor, cartoons, advertising, and other items of current and often local interest to a general readership.

Examples include: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Press.

  • Newswires

A newswire is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to other organizations in the news trade: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters.

Common ones include the Associated Press (AP), the BBC, Reuters, and United Press International (UPI.)

Newspapers often contain articles from newswires.

  • Periodicals

A term used to describe all the various types of publications that are produced on a regular schedule - Journals, Newspapers, Magazines, etc.

  • Refereed or Peer Reviewed

Peer-reviewed and refereed are synonyms. In a peer-reviewed journal, articles are examined by experts in the field to determine their merit.

These experts will read the work and determine the accuracy of statements made, citations, etc.

Peer reviewed journals are usually scholarly in nature, but may occasionally be trade journals and reviewed by people who work in a particular field – chemistry, automotive, etc.

  • Trade

This type of publication is intended for people who work in a particular industry.

It does not tend to be scholarly in nature, but will use terminology (words, jargon, buzzwords) that is familiar to people who work in a particular field.

Examples include:  Beverage World, Chemical Week, and Advertising Age.

Article Formats


  • Bound/Print/Hard Copy

These articles will be in a periodical that you can actually hold in your hand.

You will need to use a photocopier or a scanner if you want to take the article with you.

In Trible Library these are located downstairs.

These are arranged alphabetically by the title (of the journal, magazine, etc not your article title) and then by date.

Bound items may look like a book, but inside are the actual individual magazines in date order.

Remember to ask if you have trouble finding it!


  • Microfiche (flat) and Microfilm (rolls)

These were a common way to reduce large amounts of text, such as a journal issue, into a smaller format that took up less space.

In Trible Library these are located downstairs.

It is arranged alphabetically by the title (of the journal, magazine, etc not your article title) and then by date.

Special machines are required in order to read these items.

The machines are located near the cabinets.

Items on fiche or film can be printed.

 Remember to ask if you have trouble finding it or trouble using the machines! 


  • pdf

It stands for portable document format.

A special reader needs to be on the computer in order to read it.

The most common is the original Adobe Reader, but others such as Foxit are growing in popularity.

If you do not have the software on your computer, it can be downloaded and installed for free.

This is a common format as it can be created by scanning the print version of the article into the format or it can be created directly from the computer.

It may sometimes be called an article image or image file.


  • Text + Graphics

This is sometimes used to describe an article that provides the document text, but also includes photographs, diagrams, charts, etc.

 The images have usually been compressed and in order to see them clearly you will need to click on them.

Unlike a pdf, this format provides the text article separate from the image instead of creating an image of the entire article.

It is often a better format for text to audio programs.


  • html and text

These articles will be online.

It does not require special software (other than a web browser) in order to read it.

It is often a better format for text to audio programs.

These articles do not have anything but the text; no photographs, diagrams, charts, etc.

It is a common form for newspaper articles.



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