The credibility or trustworthiness of an information source depends on:
We call this the the context.
Effective researchers understand that the level of credibility and quality needed from a source will vary based on the context. An information source's context (see above) help determine its appropriateness to the task at hand.
There are two major types of periodical: scholarly or popular.
There is a type of journal you will encounter in an academic library called a scholarly (or sometimes referred to as an academic, refereed or peer-reviewed) journal. They 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.
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 for academic work.
There's a third type of periodical you might see called a trade journal. Those can be considered as a category in-between popular and scholarly journals since they are more specific than a popular magazine but not peer reviewed like a scholarly journal.
To find out if a journal is considered scholarly, check the Ulrich's database by doing a search for the title of the journal.
If you see a little referee shirt icon then the journal title is considered peer reviewed "aka" scholarly.
Academic (Scholarly) Journal: Journal that is focused on academic topics and primarily read by scholars, students, professors, and researchers. Often contains original research, literature reviews, and other scholarly work.
Peer-Reviewed: A type of academic journal that requires papers to be vetted by a panel of editors (peer review) for quality before they are published in the journal.
Periodical: A library term for magazine, journal, or newspaper. Does not include books.
Typically library databases will have a filter to allow you to only see results from a certain type of periodical.
Search for library subscribed scholarly articles
|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|