There are two major types of periodical: scholarly or popular.
Popular periodicals are the kind you would buy to read for fun. They may have some value for research, depending on the topic, but they are usually not the best type of resource.
Scholarly periodicals are written for and by people who work in academics: professors, researchers, undergraduate or graduate students. This type of article is best suited for your research because it is reliable and authoritative.
|Scholarly journals||Popular magazines|
|Authors||Articles are written by authorities in the field||Articles are usually written by professional writers or journalists|
|Sources||Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies||There are rarely bibliographies|
|Audience||Aimed at scholarly readers (researchers, professors, or students)||Aimed at general population|
|Publisher||Often published by academic or association presses||Published by commercial (for profit) presses|
|Advertisements||Contains few to no advertisements||Contain numerous advertisements|
|Peer-review?||Most articles are reviewed by an author’s peers before publication to ensure high quality||Rare|
|Article scope||Journals usually have a narrow subject focus, and articles often include original research, reviews, or essays||Used to inform, update, or introduce a topic to a general reader|
|Graphics||Illustrations often consist of charts or graphs||Numerous colorful illustrations and/or photographs are usually present|
|Language||Articles use jargon of the discipline||Language is geared to general population; no special knowledge is required|
|Examples||American Journal of Botany, The Academy of Management Journal, Social Research||Runner's World, Ebony, Time|
If you have a journal and you need to check if it is peer reviewed, use the Ulrich's Periodical Directory database.
Enter the name of the journal in the search bar, then look for the little referee's jersey icon or the line that says "Refereed: Yes." "Refereed" is just another way of saying "peer reviewed," so if you see either or both of those things, your journal is peer reviewed.
If you don't see the icon or if the description of the journal says "Refereed: No," that journal is not peer reviewed.