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Identify Journal Types 

Popular Magazines vs Trade Publications vs Scholarly Journals 

The following general guidelines describe the three main types of periodicals: popular magazines, trade publications and scholarly journals. Not all periodicals fall into these categories. If you are not sure if a publication is appropriate for your assignment, ask your instructor. 


Popular Magazines

Trade Magazines

Scholarly Journals







  • eye catching cover
  • glossy paper
  • heavily illustrated in colour
  • many advertisements
  • each issue starts with page 1                 

  • cover highlights the industry
  • glossy paper
  • moderately illustrated in colour
  • trade-related advertisements
  • each issue starts with page 1

  • plain cover
  • plain paper
  • black/white charts and graphs
  •  few or no advertisements
  • pages numbered consecutively through each volume



  • general public

  • members of a specific industry or organization
  • researchers and professionals




  • paid staff or freelancers
  • articles may be unsigned

  • paid staff or practitioners in the field
  • articles usually signed

  • scholars or researchers in the field
  • background of authors usually given 
  • reviewed by an editor
  • reviewed by an editor
  • peer review/refereed
  • no bibliographies or footnotes
  • may have short bibliographies
  • always have bibliographies or footnotes



  • usually weekly or monthly
  • usually weekly or monthly
  • usually quarterly



  • commercial
  • commercial or industry association
  • university press or scholarly society








 (image - News Week)

  •  Maclean's
  • Time

 (image - Quill & Quire)

  •  Business 2.0
  • Free Inquiry

 (image - Review CSWR)


  •  Canadian Journal of History
  • Explicator