Answered By: MVCC Reference Librarian
Last Updated: May 18, 2020     Views: 63

The easiest way to figure out if a magazine is scholarly, trade, or popular is to look at the audience.

Scholarly - is for academic (experts or researchers).  These are often called Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly. Authors of scholarly articles assume you are already very interested in the subject, so they do not include attention-grabbing details like colorful images, ads or graphics. 

Trade - is for professionals in a specific industry. All of the ads and articles will be about that profession.  

Popular - is for the broader audience (you might find these in the supermarket checkout lines). Since they are trying to grab the attention of lots of people, they include colorful covers, lots of pictures, and creative layouts. 

For more information on these types of magazines or journals, see our research guide How-To: Identify Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Periodicals.