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Popular, Scholarly, & Trade

How to tell the difference

Popular, Scholarly, & Trade

Popular, Scholarly, & Trade Articles

Determining the difference among periodicals is much more difficult when the article is electronic and you cannot "browse" the item. If you are looking for a scholarly article, find the abstract (summary at the beginning of the article), authority (description of author and affiliaton), and citations (in-text, works cited, bibliography, references).

Popular, News, Opinion Trade Scholarly

Journalists, freelane writers, commentators, sometimes anonymous  

Practictioners or specialists in field or industry or journalists with subject expertise Researchers,scientists,scholars.credentials listed
Audience General public    Specific industry, trade, organization, or profession; jargon often used Other scholars, professionals, or students familiar with the field
Purpose Inform, entertain To describe issues, problems, or trends in the field; product information, forecasts, statistics. Report and share original research, experiments, theories; contribute to the body of knowledge about a particular subject
Are sources cited?  Sources may be cited or identified, but usually not or obscure Practices vary; some cite sources and some do not Authors cite their sources with in-text citations, in footnotes or bibliographies, often extensive
Peer-reviewed? No. Editors look for grammar, errors, plagiarism No. Similar to popular magazines. Yes. Extensive peer-review process.
Abstract? No No, but there might be a summary    Yes. Summarizing paragraph before the article with the authors goals, objectives, results, and analysis.
Publisher Commerical publisher    Commercial and trade publishers, professional associations Professional organizations, universities, research institutes, scholarly presses
Appearance in print  Colorful, glossy cover, many ads for consumer products, illustrations, photos Usually glossy; charts, tables, illustrations; ads related to profession or industry; each issues starts with a page 1 Usually plain cover, no color; graphs, charts, tables and photographs relating to research; few ads; somber, serious
Terminology Not technical, written for general audience, basic education Uses jargon of the field Uses technical vocabulary of the discipline; assumes college-educated reader with some knowledge of the subject
Examples Sports Illustrated; Newsweek; Rolling Stone, National Geographic RN, Advertising Age, Modern Machine Shop, Progressive Grocer Journal of Cultural Geography, Developmental Psychology, Renaissance Quarterly, Biocemistry