Is this a journal or a magazine? ***

Research requirements for university courses vary. Some courses require students to read only academic journals. Other courses focus on topics that benefit from exposure to magazines. Either way, it is in your best interest to have a firm grasp on what constitutes a journal and what constitutes a magazine. When in doubt, refer to the table below for guidance.





Experts in their field

Usually journalists or freelance writers

Content of articles

In-depth research or analysis

General; reports, opinions, commentaries on people, events, issues


Sources cited in notes and/or bibliographies

Sources referred to in text but rarely cited in notes or bibliography


Scholars, professionals, students in the field

General, anyone interested in the subject


Usually professional associations or other non-profit agencies

Commercial; for profit


Selective if any; related to field

All types of products and services


Communication Monographs,Human Communication Research, Quarterly Journal of Speech

Business Week, Forbes, Newsweek, Time, Utne Reader


*** Information on this page was adapted from the Oregon State University Libraries Information Bulletin "Is this a journal?".

Back to comm theory page.