Skip to Main Content

Library Research Support

Chart of Popular, Trade and Scholarly Periodicals

Types of Periodicals in the Library
Examples The Economist, Psychology Today, Time, National Geographic Advertising Age, The CPA Journal, Billboard, American Libraries Journal of the History of Ideas, College English, Antiquity, Science
Audience For the general public; use language understood by the average reader For those in a particular trade or industry For students, scholars, researchers; uses specialized vocabulary of the discipline
Content May report research as news items,feature stories, editorials and opinion pieces Reports on problems or issues in a particular industry Reports original research, theory; may include an abstract
Appearance Highly visual, a lot of advertising, color, photos, short articles with no bibliographies or references Visual, contains advertising, color, photos, Little or no advertising, has tables & charts, high concentration of print, lengthy articles, bibliographies & references
Authors Author may not be named, frequently a staff writer, not a subject expert Staff writers, freelance authors Authors are specialists, articles are signed, & credentials such as degrees, university affiliation are often given.


Quick Video about Scholarly vs. Popular

Vanderbilt University has a great 3-minute video explaining the differences between popular and scholarly magazines and journals.