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FFYS 1000: First Year Seminar

This guide will help you learn about the First Year Seminar course and the corresponding Information Literacy tutorials.

Link to LMU's Primary Sources LibGuide

Scholarly, Popular, and Trade Information

What's in them?

Scholarly articles present original research on events related to a specific discipline written by professors, researchers, or professionals

Example - AJP: The American Journal of Psychology

Popular articles are about current events and popular culture, opinion pieces, self-help tips, or advertising written by staff writers or free-lancers

Example - Psychology Today

Trade articles are about news, trends, best practices, and products for a specific industry or profession Written by a professional in that field or journalist with subject area expertise

Example - Monitor on Psychology

What are their advantages?

Scholarly information:

  • Is usually evaluated by experts before publication (peer-reviewed)
  • Has footnotes or bibliographies to support research and point to further research on a topic
  • Has authors that describe methodology and supply data to support research results

Example - Nature

Popular information:


  • Is written for non- specialists
  • Provides timely coverage of popular topics and current events
  • Has good sources for topics related to popular culture

Example - Scientific American

Trade information:

  • Has timely coverage of industry trends
  • Sometimes contains short bibliographies
  • Has shorter articles that are informal and practical

Example - Chemistry World

What are their disadvantages?

Scholarly information:

  • Has articles that often use specialized terminology that can be difficult for non-specialists to read
  • Includes scholarly journals that are expensive and may not be readily available
  • May not be as useful for current events or popular culture due to long research process

Example - The American Economic Review

Popular information:

  • Has articles that are selected by editors who may know little about the topic
  • Has authors that usually do not cite sources
  • Publishes to make a profit; the line between informing and selling may be blurred

Example - The Economist

Trade information: 

  • Is not peer-reviewed, though author is usually a professional in the field
  • Uses specialized terminology of the field
  • Has evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge but NOT rigorous research

Example: The Banker