You Say Periodical. I Say Magazine. And then there are Journals! What Does It Matter as Long as I can Get the PDF?

Submitted by Gail Gradowski on June 14th, 2018
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Short Description: 

This is designed to introduce students to the wonderful world of periodicals, in their great variety, and to how they will appear in different databases. It also begins the work of building their skills at evaluating information sources, determining perspective.

This is the worksheet, including the answers!Downloaded 780 times52 KB
This is the optional worksheet described in the lesson plan.Downloaded 533 times15.12 KB
This is, essentially, a lesson plan and script.Downloaded 637 times16.82 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

• Identify a periodical source;
• Describe different periodical information sources;
• Identify relevant author credentials;
• Describe relevant author credentials.

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

This activity is a great one to be done right before students are going to begin searching for articles for their own research projects. I have used it that way many times.

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 

This exercise works well as a prelude to another I've uploaded here, What Exactly IS the Source You are Quoting From?, which works on teaching students how to contextualize their evidence/sources in their writing.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

One pitfall is that students very often answer the questions with very obvious and superficial remarks, so it is important to really respond to their answers and make them "go back and try again!" It can be helpful to have "prizes" for coming up with insightful responses!

When selecting the articles to use in this exercise, I always try to make sure the links are to different databases so part of what they learn is that the article can appear very different in different databases. e.g. EBSCO, Gale, Nexis, Proquest!

Suggested Citation: 
Gradowski, Gail. "You Say Periodical. I Say Magazine. And then there are Journals! What Does It Matter as Long as I can Get the PDF?." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2018.