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Understanding Journals: Peer-Reviewed, Scholarly, Trade, & Popular

A helpful guide to better understand and identify the different types of journals.

Side-by-Side Comparison

CHARACTERISTICS Scholarly Trade Popular
Comparison
Purpose To report results of original research and experimentation To report industry/trade trends, products, and news To report current events, opinions, and general information
Look Plain, serious, lengthy articles, may contain charts and graphs to support findings Glossy, commercial, contains color illustrations/photos, and industry/trade related advertisements Glossy, attractive, contains color illustrations/photos, and everyday product advertisements
Author Scholars and experts in field of study/discipline Industry specialists or staff writers Journalists/reporters, staff or freelance writers
Audience Scholars in academic and discipline related fields, researchers, students Members or those with interest in a particular industry or trade Anyone
Language Academic and technical Jargon of the industry Non-technical, written in a language for anyone to understand
Documentation Heavily cited with footnotes or bibliography Occasionally contain cited sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies Sources are rarely cited, although references may be mentioned in text