Skip to main content

Management 1000: Scholarly, Popular or Trade?

Scholarly, Popular or Trade

What is the Difference between Scholarly, Popular and Trade materials?

When conducting research you may be instructed only to use "academic," "scholarly" or "peer reviewed" journals. But what does that mean? In fact, you may find three main types of articles in a database if you look. What are the differences between them? Academic Journal articles are typically referred to as scholarly and are written for professors, students and researchers. Magazine articles are frequently called popular materials and are written for the interests of the general public. A third category, trade magazines/journals, are written for professionals in a particular field but are not strictly research related. Below are some examples of the differences additional criteria to consider to help you differentiate between scholarly journals and popular and trade magazines.

Criteria Academic or Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine Trade Magazine/Journal
Sample Cover
Audience Academics and professionals only General public People in the business (Note the $100 bills
in the sandwich above!)
Authors Experts or specialists (PhD). Unpaid. Journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers. Paid. Staff writers, industry specialists, or vendor
representatives. Paid.
(In the case of vendor
reps. it may be outright
advertising).
References Almost always Rarely Sometimes
Article Types Scholarly Popular Trade (Business)
Example Article Title

"Optimization of the production of shrimp
waste protein hydrolysate using microbial
proteases adopting response surface
methodology"

"In search of the perfect meatball" "UCLA hospitals go to antibiotic-free meats"
Price $436/year (6 issues) $15/year (12 issues) $80/year (12 issues)