Sources in a ProQuest Database

Alys Avalos-Rivera

Scholarly Journals

The articles that you can find in a scholarly journal may be research reports, essays, or book reviews. These texts are usually written by experts and addressed to experts in the same field (e.g. scientists and university professors). Therefore the language may be highly specialized or technical. Some scholarly journals are regarded as highly reliable sources not only because they are written by experts, but because their content is submitted to a peer-review process. This means that a group of experts in the field read the article before it is authorized to be published in the journal. In this process, the peer-reviewers provide pertinent feedback so that the author(s) can make any necessary changes to ensure the quality of the publication. If you want to make sure that your search in ProQuest renders only peer-reviewed journals, you need to check the corresponding box before you click on search (see picture below). All scholarly journals always provide detailed references at the end of the article so that the readers will be able to locate the sources used by the author and read these sources directly if they desire to do so [click here to go back to appropriate].

Screenshot of a ProQuest search field. Below the search field are two checkboxes: Full Text, and Peer Reviewed.

Trade Journals

A trade journal is usually addressed to practitioners in a given profession. For this reason, the topics in this sort of publications are usually related to practical matters within a specific type of work or occupation. You will not find state of the art research reports in this type of journal. Moreover, some trade journals are peer-reviewed by experts, but that is not the norm. In most cases, the articles only go under the scrutiny of an editor. This means that someone who works for the journal, usually a professional writer, helps the author refine details such as grammar, spelling, and other formatting details before the article is published. Trade journal articles sometimes provide lists of references, but these lists tend to be rather short.


Magazines can vary in topic but the contents are usually addressed to a non-professional/non-expert type of audience. Therefore, the articles are not too specialized and may only be of interest to those who do not know much about a specific topic. A magazine article is usually edited, but not peer-reviewed. In some cases, magazine articles may present more in-depth information about a topic as opposed to a newspaper article. Usually, magazine articles can be longer and the authors have more time to work on their articles. As for their sources, magazine articles may only mention the name of the person who provided the information, or say that a certain fact was proved by a recent study. However, the details of the sources used are not always provided. Finally, you should also remember that just as there are different types of newspapers, there are also different types of magazines written for different audiences and with diverse degrees of reliability and levels of specialization.


Newspaper articles may be written by journalists who are not experts on a topic but have the necessary skills to do some secondary research on the topic and report the information they find. Since newspaper writers are pressed by time to publish on a daily or weekly basis, they have less time to refine their work and verify their claims than magazine writers. Additionally, as in the case of magazine writers, newspaper writers do not always provide clear references for their sources. In the best cases, the writers of online newspaper articles provide hotlinks to their references, but that is not always the case. [Click here to go back to Evaluating an Internet Source]


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Sources in a ProQuest Database Copyright © 2020 by Alys Avalos-Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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