This is the "Popular vs. Scholarly Publications" page of the "World Trade Organization" guide.
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World Trade Organization   Tags: trade; international relations; economics  

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Popular vs. Scholarly Publications Print Page

Types of Publications

Journal vs. Magazine?


Scholarly journal


The look


Serious; the  cover is often of one color and may contain the table of contents.  Interior is mostly text, articles may include graphs or charts; scientific publications may include photos. Usually no adverts

Glossy, colorful;  photos on the cover and the inside; lots of advertisements 



Always has footnotes and an extensive bibliography, which provides additional information for further study

Rarely cites sources.

Subject area


A technical area, often a very specific subspecialty of an area of study of interest to few.  e.g., Journal of health & human services administration

General interest or in a specific hobby or entertainment area, e.g. Popular Photography, Newsweek

Written by   


A scholar or researcher, frequently affiliated with a university or college or government agency, who is an expert in the field. Article subject to peer review, lends credibility

Staff writer or free lancer who may be a journalist but often may not be knowledgeable in the subject area.  May have editorial oversight at most; no expectation of reliability

Who is the audience?


Members of the same or related academic field with education and/or specific knowledge and interest in the area

The general public or those with a non-professional interest in the subject

Who is the publisher?


A professional organization, university press or government agency.

A commercial publisher. Or an advocacy non-profit organization [American Rifleman, from the NRA]

What is its purpose?


To exchange ideas and report on research

Entertainment, general news or pastime interest; often a profit motive



 New England Journal of Medicine

 American Journal of Public Health

Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic Monthly, Cat Fancy




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