This short (really, we promise) tutorial is designed to test your knowledge of scholarly, trade, and popular publications and how to distinguish between them.

If you haven't already, you might want to read our guide on this subject.

Directions: For each question, you will be shown some part of a publication. Your job is to classify the publication as Scholary, Trade, or Popular.

types of

Let's start with an easy one. Is Rolling Stone

Correct! You got it. You don't get much more "popular" than the Rolling Stone.
Incorrect. This is a popular magazine. How do we know?
  1. Justin Bieber
  2. Colorful, eye-catching headlines
  3. Justin Bieber
  4. Articles mostly relate to pop culture
Also: Justin Bieber.

Here's the cover of Critical Reviews in Analytical Chemistry. Is this journal…

Correct! This is definitely a scholarly journal.
Incorrect. This is a scholarly journal. How do we know?
  1. "Critical Reviews" in the title
  2. Bland cover; no attempt at popular appeal
  3. Analytical chemistry is definitely academic material.

And now Sport Business International. Is this journal…

Click on the journal pages to see them more closely.
Correct! This is a trade journal.
Incorrect. This is a trade journal. How do we know?
  1. Lots of pictures, so probably not academic.
  2. Regular features in the table of contents include things like "Careers and Jobs" and "Brands & Marketing"—likely of interest to people in the industry.
  3. Financial statistics are also most useful to industry insiders.
  4. Table of contents does not list anything that sounds like an article reporting research results.
Sport Business International journal cover Sport Business International table of contents Sport Business International sample page

Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture. Is this journal…

Correct! This is a scholarly journal.
Incorrect. This is a scholarly journal. How do we know?
  1. Quarterly publication as indicated by "Spring 2014" on the cover.
  2. "Published by Duke University Press on behalf of the University of Oklahoma" on cover. It took two universities just to publish this! That's very scholarly.
  3. Footnotes and citations in articles.
  4. Author affiliation listed on the byline. (University of Florida—that's three universities!).
Genre journal cover Genre table of contents Genre sample page

The New Yorker. Is it…

Correct! This is a popular journal.
Incorrect. This is a popular journal. How do we know?
  1. Decorative, appealing cover.
  2. The table of contents shows a wide range of topics: psychology, late-night TV, book and movie reviews. Diverse content to appeal to a general readership.
  3. Full-page ad for ice cream. Academic journals rarely have ads. Trade journals do, but they're usually for specialized products or services.
  4. There's a big yellow sticker on the cover that says "POPULAR PERIODICALS." You're welcome.
New Yorker cover New Yorker table of contents New Yorker ad

The Journal of Experimental Biology. Is it…

Correct! This is a scholarly journal.
Incorrect. This is a scholarly journal. How do we know?
  1. Table of contents shows articles that are of interest only to biologists. The rest of us aren't too worried about pitfalls in our invertebrate proteosome assays.
  2. Article authors are researchers. IC's own Andy Smith is an author! #streetcred
  3. Beneath the abstract and key words on the article page, you'll notice a line stating the date the article was received and another date when it was accepted. This is important for academic articles in case a question of priority arises (i.e., "No, I discovered it first!").
  4. What was happening in that five-month gap between receipt and acceptance? Probably peer review.
Journal of Experimental Biology cover Journal of Experimental Biology table of contents Journal of Experimental Biology sample page

Scientific American. Is it…

Correct! This is a popular journal.
Incorrect. Yes, it has the word "scientific" in the title, which sounds scholarly. But it's still a popular journal. Two big clues:
  1. The content of the botulism article. Notice how it refers to the scientists as "they." This is reporting about science, not original scientific research.
  2. The byline on the botulism article. The author is listed as Helen Branswell, but without any credentials or affiliations. A quick Google search shows that Ms. Branswell is a medical reporter, not a scientist.
Scientific American cover Scientific American sample page

Nature. Is it…

Correct! This is a scholarly journal.
Incorrect. Despite the "popular" look of the cover, this is a scholarly journal. How do we know?
  1. In-depth articles written for a scientific audience.
  2. Description of research performed by the authors: "We analysed its molecular dynamics…"
  3. Authors have academic affiliations (see bottom of sample page).
Nature cover Nature sample page

When you find an article in a database, you might not see the journal cover or table of contents. But there are still clues to the nature of the publication. Here's an entry in PSYCH Info for a paper from Neurology. Is that journal …

Correct! This is a scholarly journal.
Incorrect. This is a scholarly journal. How do we know?
  1. Credentials are given for the authors, both of whom are at the University of Washington.
  2. The phrase "the author examines" in the abstract suggests original research.
  3. The database is nice enough to actually tell you this is from a peer reviewed journal. (Look near the bottom.)
Neurology article

Thank you for working through this tutorial on types of publications. We hope you found it relatively painless.

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