4.2 Trade Sources

Trade publications (may be called trade journals or trade magazines) are the container for trade articles. Many publications may also have a website where they publish articles and information in addition to or in lieu of a print or digital publication. Like scholarly articles, trade articles are written by people who work in a particular field for others who work in that field. However, the content of trade articles differs from scholarly articles. Man wearing a chef's hat

What makes a Trade Article?

Trade articles contain practical information about industry news, current events, conferences, professional development, and other information relevant to someone who works in a particular occupation. These articles do not report on experiments or studies conducted by the author like in scholarly articles, although some trade articles may discuss recent findings that come from those original research articles.

How to Identify a Trade Article

Trade articles and publications may share similarities to other types of magazines, and in some cases there can be crossover regarding the type of content in the articles. If you are unsure of what type of publication an article is from you can:

  • Google the name of the publication
  • Check the About Us section of their website or look for clues on the website as to what type of publication it is
  • Ask yourself: Who is the audience?  What type of information is in the articles? What is the purpose of this publication? These questions can help you determine what type of publication it is.

When to Use a Trade Article

Your instructor may not specifically direct you to use trade sources in research assignments. However, as you advance in your academic and professional life, it will be very helpful to read trade publications relevant to your career. These sources will help you stay current in your field.

In addition to professionals, trade publications may also be of interest to someone who has an interest in the topic such a hobbyist.  For example, think of a trade publication about culinary arts, fitness, or cars. Someone who is very interested in these topics may read trade articles to keep up with their hobby or advance their own knowledge simply because they enjoy the subject.

Trade Article Identifying Characteristics

Trade Article Example

Click on the blue plus signs for more information about different features of a trade article.

Check for Understanding


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