The following documents are common in the sholarly publication process:
The Application - sometimes it is possible to reach applications for grants/funding or other financial support for different research projects. This might give you a hint on which new areas of interest are evolving within your subject field. See "Research and Project Databases" at the Information Monitoring page.
Conference papers/proceedings - along the way, the researcher may report results at conferences. The papers can be published both as:
Research reports - usually published by universities, research institutes, companies, organizations or government authorities to present their research. Usually these reports don't undergo the same quality control as scientific journal articles do, so the scientific weight might vary.
Journal articles - a common way for researchers to reach out with their findings and scientific work is to write an article for a journal in within their field. Usually scientific articles are published in journals that are refereed or peer reviewed. In short the peer review means that a group of peers read and evaluate the paper to determine if it merits publication in that journal [Read more]. Approximately 50% of conference papers get published as full journal articles within two years.
Books - researchers often publish books or chapters in books (anthologies) to communicate their research. The most common is the dissertation, which is the result of their work during their Ph D studies. At the Department of Politcial Science the dissertations are published in the series Lund Political Studies.
If you want current information it might be a good idea to consult publications that occur early in the publication process, such as for example conference proceedings or journal articles, since books take longer to publish.
Peabody Library, Vanderbilt University, provides a brief overview on what makes a scholarly periodical different from a popular periodical. (Created by Eli Moody, 2007)