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Researching Business Information

Tutorials and links for researching company information and corporate governance issues.

Evaluating Sources: Scholarly, Trade, & Popular Articles

Learn about the difference between the three main types of articles you might come across during library research.

Is this a scholarly (academic) source?

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources are often required for college level research.  They have the highest level of authority, as they are written by experts in the discipline, generally PhDs.  Many but not all of them are peer-reviewed, also known as refereed. In the peer-review process, articles are scrutinized by a panel of experts to verify accuracy, validity, and value to the profession.


  • Scholarly sources are written by experts – a PhD. affiliated with a college or university, for example.
  • Scholarly sources include a long list of citations or references at the end of the work.

Trade Sources

Trade journal articles are written by those practicing in the field. The authors may be nurses, teachers, managers, engineers, etc. The purpose for the journal is to share information and practical strategies among people who are working in a profession. They are less lengthy and may have a few or no references at the end.

Popular Sources

Popular sources are those written by journalists or freelance writers. They are meant to appeal to the general public, often with sensationalized titles, glossy photos and illustrations, and many advertisements. Their main purpose is to entertain and generate revenue. Use the chart below to help you compare scholarly, trade, and popular publications, or use the attached document.

Ulrichsweb tutorial - Is this a scholarly source?

How do you confirm that the article you have selected is from a scholarly publication?  Watch this video to find out.

Ulrichsweb Link

Learn More Advanced Techniques for Searching