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NURS 415: Community and Family Health Nursing

Different Types of Publications


During your research you will encounter 3 main article types (aside from Newspaper articles). This guide will help you identify the difference between these article types.


Popular Magazines Defined

Cover of John Hopkins Health You may be most familiar with Popular Magazines. These are produced to inform or entertain the general public, and contain  short articles written by staff writers or journalists. Look for articles that use simplistic terminology, don't contain any citations or references, and utilize colorful/glossy photos to catch a reader's eye. These articles do not under go the peer-review process.




Trade Journals Defined

Cover of Nursing StandardThese publications can be confused with Academic/Scholarly journals because they have an overlapping audience. Trade Journals are produced to inform professionals in a particular industry or field. They report on trends and developments, but are not the venue for primary research, and are not peer-reviewed. Often they are associated with a professional organization. There articles will contain more jargon than a popular magazine, but they will still be shorter articles and often will not contain an extensive citations or references. Articles are often written by professionals in the field, but can be written by staff writers as well. These publications may include color photographs or illustrations, but not as many as a popular magazine.



Scholarly/Academic Articles

cover of Journal of Advanced NursingScholarly/Academic Articles are typically longer articles where scholars/academics in a particular discipline present their original research. These are typically longer articles, that almost always include citation/reference list, and may include other sections like an abstract. A majority of these articles are peer-reviewed. Their audience is typically other scholars in the discipline, but can include professionals in related fields. The terminology utilized in these articles will be very discipline specific and may use a lot of acronyms. Rarely do they include color photographs, and illustrations will largely be graphs or tables used to help present research.



Additional Resources

Identifying Article Type in a Database

The library's databases can contain all 3 types of publications, and it can often be difficult to tell the difference between them.

sample Database Filter Source Types If the database contains multiple article types, often it will allow you to filter your search by a particular publication type (see the example to the left). The database may also utilize different icons for each type to help you quickly recognize the type.

You also may want to look at the description of the article. If it has a short abstract, or none at all, then the article is more likely from a popular magazine or trade publication. If the abstract is fairly extensive then it is more likely an academic article.

Database can be wrong when they categorize an article, so to be 100% sure of the article type, you can Google the name of the publication, and find its website. There you will be able to identify whether it is a scholarly/academic article, or whether it is a popular magazine or trade journal.