Trade Journals Secondary Research Paper

For research assignments, a professor may require that you use "scholarly" or "peer reviewed" journals. These are journals whose purpose is to disseminate new findings, results of studies, theories, etc.

Scholarly journals are written and edited by professors and researchers. Before publication, articles are reviewed by other researchers in the field of interest, hence the name "peer reviewed."

Many Library databases allow you to limit your search results to peer reviewed articles.

Appearance & Format

  • Plain covers that vary little from issue to issue
  • "Journal," "Transactions," "Proceedings," or "Quarterly" commonly appear in title
  • Articles include sections such as: abstract, keywords, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion
  • Articles may have charts or graphs
  • Advertising limited to books and meetings
  • Pages numbered consecutively throughout a volume (rather than starting again at "1" with each issue)

Frequency of Publication

Authors & Editors

  • Authors are scholars writing about their own research. They are usually affiliated with a college, university, or research institue and that affiliation will be stated
  • Articles are reviewed by a board of experts ("peer reviewed")

Readership & Language

  • Aimed at practitioners in a particular field of study
  • Language is often intensely academic, using the jargon of the field


  • Sources are always cited using footnotes or parenthetical references
  • "Works cited" section at end of articles

Secondary sources describe, summarize, or discuss information or details originally presented in another source; meaning the author, in most cases, did not participate in the event. This type of source is written for a broad audience and will include definitions of discipline specific terms, history relating to the topic, significant theories and principles, and summaries of major studies/events as related to the topic. Use secondary sources to obtain an overview of a topic and/or identify primary resources. Refrain from including such resources in an annotated bibliography for doctoral level work unless there is a good reason.

Examples of a secondary source are:

  • Publications such as textbooks, magazine articles, book reviews, commentaries, encyclopedias, almanacs

Locate secondary resources in NCU Library within the following databases:

  • Annual Reviews (scholarly article reviews)
  • Credo Reference (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks & more)
  • Ebook Central (ebooks)
  • ProQuest (book reviews, bibliographies, literature reviews & more )
  • SAGE Reference Methods, SAGE Knowledge & SAGE Navigator (handbooks, encyclopedias, major works, debates & more)
  • Most other Library databases include secondary sources. 


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