Professors often suggest that students include articles from scholarly, refereed, or peer-reviewed journals as resources for their research papers. These articles are authored by experts in their fields and reviewed by peers before getting accepted for publication. See below for a chart to help you distinguish between the three main types of periodicals.
|Popular Magazine||Scholarly Journal||Trade Journal|
|Audience||General readership||Students, researchers, scholars, specialists in a particular subject||Members of a particular trade, profession or industry|
|Language||Popular language, geared toward the average reader||Specialized vocabulary of a subject discipline||Specialized vocabulary of a trade, profession or industry|
|Content||Feature stories, reviews, editorials, may report research findings as news||Original research, theoretical issues, new developments in the subject discipline||News, trends, technical and practical aspects of the trade, profession or industry|
|Authors||Staff writers (not always named), free lance writers||Subject specialists named, degrees and academic affiliation usually given||Staff writers and freelancers, usually professionals in the field|
|Documentation||Articles rarely include references or footnotes||Meticulously documented; extensive references and/or footnotes||Some articles may contain a few references or footnotes|
|Appearance||Highly visual, lots of advertising and photos||Sober design, little advertising, mostly text with some graphs and tables||Visual; some advertising related to the field, photos|
Adapted from "How to…Distinguish Types Of Periodicals: Popular Magazines, Scholarly Journals and Trade Journals"
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown