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Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Journals

Characteristics of Popular Publications

Entertainment, selling products or profiting from advertisement, promoting viewpoints.

Written at a basic reading level, accessible for a general audience.

Staff writers and journalists who are generally not required to have specialized training in the subject they are writing about.

Glossy and colorful, with many photos, illustrations and advertisements. Popular magazine articles are very short, with no abstract and few citations, if any.

Popular magazine articles do not cover topics in depth; the language and content is simple and general enough to be accessible and appealing to the mass market.

Bias and opinion are common, and facts are not always cited.

People, Time, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, Newsweek

Glossy magazines at a newstand

Sample Popular Article

Here is an example of an article from a popular magazine. This piece from People magazine is short, it included glossy photos and advertisements, and it was written for entertainment. It did not include an abstract, references or background information about the author.

Sample of a popular article colorful with several photographs of a puppy

Characteristics of Trade Journals

Current news, trends, and shared peer insights and experiences in a given profession or industry.

Practitioners in the given field

Readers of Library Journal are likely professional librarians or a few readers that are exceptionally interested in libraries!

Other practitioners and members of professional organizations in the field, and possibly representation from related companies (software, equipment, etc.) sharing relevant news and updates.

Often published by trade associations.

May be structured as a magazine, journal or newspaper. Articles are written in industry jargon, do not typically exceed 3 pages or so, and include few, if any, citations. Contains ads that are targeted to professionals in the given field.

Not peer reviewed. May contain studies and statistics but should not be used as a source in research.

Popular Mechanics, Management Today, Booklist, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Publishers Weekly