Skip to Main Content

Criminal Justice: Policing and Law Enforcement

Types of Serial Publications - Overview

What kind of journal is your article published in?

  • Language (formal, informal, argot)
  • Intended audience
  • Purpose of article
  • Author credentials/expertise
  • Journal publisher/sponsoring organization 
  • Visual cues - what kind of advertising is there (if any)? What kind of photos, charts, and other graphics?
  • What else...?



Peer Review in Three Minutes

  • Scholarly research/discovery - intended to educate

  • topic/point of paper is significant, unique

  • citations to referenced works

  • Formal academic prose and style

  • Often (especially in social sciences and sciences) use the IRAD/IMRAD format (sorry, I don't have a source for this to cite properly :-(

  • Author has academic subject matter expertise

  • Peer review - has passed critique from other subject matter experts

  • Can be used for analysis, frameworks, explanations

  • Generally considered the gold standard in academia, but consider Retraction Watch


  • Intended for people who work in a profession or trade.
  • Vocational perspective
  • May use professional lingo
  • Advertisements reflect interests of the trade or profession
  • May distill academic articles relevant to their readers
  • Examples/evidence from that vocational perspective

Opinion Magazines [ideas]

  • All about opinions and perspectives from a common ideology (economic, social, political)
  • Meant to persuade or bolster people with similar viewpoints
  • Often include soc/pol/econ/cultural criticism and commentary 
  • Contemporary view, often policy orientation, examples, perspectives/ arguments, straw men?
  • Language is generally standard but may assume expertise/in-group status

Policy Journals [ideas]

  • Intended for people who make policy (national, international, or thematic, i.e. education), or are interested in policy
  • Generally, publish articles from a broad range of perspectives/ideologies
  • Want to introduce ideas into the world, get them talked about, and influence policy
  • Article authors may be politicians, government officials, academics, think tankers, etc.
  • Writing is usually formal, may sometimes include citations
  • Example - the hugely influential article The Clash of Civilizations? by Samuel P. Huntington in Foreign Affairs in 1993, and Joseph Nye's article on Soft Power in Foreign Policy in 1990.


  • Mass market publications 
  • many different subjects - can be targeted to general topics, interests and hobbies, and more.
  • Contemporary view
  • Authors may or may not have academic expertise, but generally many have experience/expertise in area(s) in which they write
  • Writing is standard English
  • Can be used for evidence/ examples...


  • Gossip and celebrities  ;-)
  • Contemporary view
  • Writing is more casual
  • Evidence/ examples...


  • “ snapshot in time” 
  • contemporary view
  • evidence/examples...
WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us