Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Books v. Journals in the Social Sciences: What are the Differences?

The differences between books and journals, especially in the age of ejournals and ebooks, in the Social Sciences

Publication Process

Academic Books (Invited by editor and/or published by established publisher) Academic Journals (peer reviewed)

Type of Information

In the Social Sciences:

Academic Books: Broader Topics Academic Journals: Specific Topics
Social Theory, Applications of Theory to Specific Questions, Researcher's Lifelong Research Plan

Research Studies, Responses to Research Studies, Meta-Analysis or Literature Reviews

Reliance on Information from Each

In the Social Sciences:

Academic Books Academic Journals

Foundational works are important to read: Freud, Freire, Vygotsky, Piaget, Bowlby, etc.

Faculty (professors) often wait to publish books until after earning tenure (permanent employment at a university). This is where they often publish an overviews and syntheses of their many years of research.

Publishing tends to occur many years after research conducted.

Faculty often prefer students to rely more on journals than books.

Current research published in journals.

Publications in highly ranked journals counted heavily towards tenure.

Publishing takes a few years and is usually "leaked" in conference or working papers before official publication.