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ENGL 1221: Writing Seminar

Scholarly, Trade and Popular Publications

Professors will often ask you to find articles that are scholarly.  What does that mean? Journal articles are usually "scholarly" while magazine articles are "popular".  Trade publications are specific publications that are targeted to people who work in specific industries for example: the advertising business.  

Criteria Scholarly Journal Trade Publication Popular Magazine
Sample Cover scholarly journal cover cover of trade publication cover of popular magazine
Sample First Page of Article first page of scholarly article first page of article in trade journal First page of popular magazine article
Title of Article "Gender, toys and learning" "Toy Story" "The Truth About Boys and Girls"
Title of Publication Oxford Review of Education Professional Engineering Baby Talk
Purpose of Publication "Articles and review articles on the theory and practice of education from scholars throughout the world in disciplines including philosophy, political science, economics, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology and medicine." "Addresses the news & technology that impacts on the business & careers of professional engineers in all sectors of engineering & manufacturing." "Publishes articles on a mix of news and advice on the challenges of new motherhood from experts and moms who "tell it like it is.""
Audience Scholars and researchers in the particular field of study.   People in the business General audience.
Authors Scholars and researchers (generally not paid).   Paid staff writers, professionals and vendors in the field.   Paid journalists, staff writers and freelance writers.  
Editors Journal editors and peer reviewers. Staff editors. Staff editors.
Works Cited/References Almost always. Sometimes. Rarely.

Table adapted from a table created by NCSU Libraries.  

Types of Articles

Academic or scholarly journals can have many different types of articles, some of which are not appropriate to cite in research papers. Make sure that the articles you use for your paper not only come from academic or scholarly journals, but also are the right type of articles. Below are examples of different types of articles you might find in an academic or scholarly journal. Click on the "PDF Full Text" icon at each link (except the news article) to view the whole articles.

  • Book reviews are articles that give in-depth overviews of academic or scholarly books on topics similar to the topics of the journals in which they appear. For example, the Journal of Pediatrics would review books about health care for children.
  • Since they are just summaries of other sources, book reviews are generally not appropriate sources for college research. However, the books they are reviewing, and any other sources they cite, could be good sources for your research.
  • Editorials are articles that consist of the author’s opinion and commentary on a topic.
  • Editorials can be good for gaining an awareness of various viewpoints on an issue you are researching. They may also have citations that can lead you to good books and/or articles on your topic. However, because they are simply someone's opinion about a topic, they are usually not appropriate to actually cite in your paper.
  • Literature reviews are articles in which the author brings together multiple research articles on the same subject and compares/contrasts them to identify common themes.
  • Literature reviews enable you to gather expert information on your topic and gain an understanding of the issues involved in the topic. They can also lead you to other sources, since the sources they review will likely also be relevant for your research. They are generally appropriate sources for college research.
  • News articles are articles written by journalists about current events or issues.
  • News articles can help you discover the latest developments and issues happening in relation to your topic. News articles sometimes cite research studies; in these cases, they can offer a simple way to find research books or articles about your topic. Otherwise, news articles are usually not appropriate to actually cite in your paper.

  • Research articles are articles written by researchers that describe the methods and results of a specific experiment or study performed by that researcher.
  • Research articles offer expert, in-depth, and detailed information on the topic. They are generally considered the most authoritative sources for college research.