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English 115 (Powell River): Magazine Analysis Assignment: Get Started

Sources of Information

Don't expect to find books, chapters in books, or articles written about the magazine you have chosen.  Very few magazines have been written about at length. 

  • The primary source for your research is the magazine itself.  Examine its content, layout, advertising, article length, writing style and vocabulary to learn about the magazine's intended audience, values, and goals.  Look for and examine its editorial policy.  See the Primary & Secondary Sources page of this guide for more details on these types of sources.
  • Check the magazine's website (another primary source) for additional information. 
  • Secondary sources include books, articles, and web resources that provide background information on magazine publishing in general, magazine advertising, particular types of magazines (women's magazines, sports magazines, etc.), groups of readers (men, senior citizens, etc.).  Find books and articles on one or more such topics that relate to your magazine, and use the information to assist in your analysis.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by kate*

Search Tips

Use specific terms to get the most relevant results.  Instead of magazines, use terms such as:

  • women's magazines
  • sports magazines
  • magazine advertising
  • magazines and readers
  • magazines and consumers

Another approach is to search for information on a topic or idea presented by your magazine.  For example, if your magazine seems to present a limited view of men or women, search for material on gender stereotyping.  Examine the results carefully to select items that will be relevant to your topic.  Read your selections critically, and determine how that information applies to the magazine you have chosen.  Other possible topics and keywords include: 

  • social responsibility
  • body image and advertising
  • conservatism and income
  • photojournalism