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BCOR 2120: Accounting Information for Decision Making

Guide to resources for students in Accounting Information for Decision Making (BCOR 2120)

Scholarly, Popular, & Trade (Professional) Information




The primary purpose of scholarly information is to disseminate research and academic discussion among scholars in a discipline.


The primary purpose of popular information is to inform and entertain the general public. The primary purpose of trade information is to inform professionals about the specific industry. 

Scholarly sources present original research on topics related to business written by professors, researchers, or professionals.

Popular sources are about current events and popular culture, opinion pieces, business trends, or advertising written by staff writers or free-lancers.

Trade sources are about news, trends, best practices, and products for a specific industry written by professionals or experts in that field.

Intended Audience:

Scholars, researchers, students

Intended Audience:

General public (non-specialist), those with an interest on the specific topic

Intended Audience:

Professionals in the industry, professional organization members

Example - Journal of Business Ethics Example - Bloomberg BusinessWeek  Example - Adweek (for advertising)

What are their advantages?

Scholarly information:

  • Authority is clear with credentials listed
  • Provides citations to support research 
  • Usually describes methodology and supplies data to support research
  • Usually evaluated by experts before publication (i.e., peer review process)

Popular information:  

  • Authority is usually clear; credentials may be listed
  • May contain citations or links to other sources
  • Provides timely coverage of popular topics and current events 
  • Usually undergoes an editorial process (reporter to editor to copy editor)

Trade information:           

  • Authority is usually clear; credentials may be listed  
  • May contain citations or links to other industry sources
  • Provides timely coverage of industry news and trends                                  

What are their disadvantages?

Scholarly information:

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

Popular information:

  • Has editors who may know little about the topic
  • Does not always cite sources
  • Publishes to make a profit; the line between informing and selling may be blurred                   

Trade information:

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

Scholarly, Popular, & Trade Examples

Journal of Business Ethics cover page

Bloomberg BusinessWeek logo

AdWeek covers