Authors: Authors of trade journal or trade magazine articles are usually members of a particular field or profession. Usually their rank or position within a profession will be indicated next to their names.
Frequency of Publication: Usually published monthly, trade journals might also have less or more frequent publication schedules (semi-monthly, quarterly, bi-weekly).
Brevity: Articles tend to be under a dozen pages in length. Length might be extended due to the inclusion of photographs or illustrations.
Columns/Features: Trade journals frequently will have regular features or columns that contain articles directed toward a particular aspect of the field. For example, a trade journal focusing on police work might have a regular feature that includes articles written by police chiefs or that includes articles that focus specifically on police technology. Conference announcements and events calendars are also frequent features of trade journals as they specialize in keeping professionals up to date on happenings in their specialties.
Subject Focus: Articles in trade journals focus on topics of interest to the profession and might include references to studies published in journals but not the research articles themselves.
References/Bibliographies: Articles in trade journals might include references, although usually not nearly as extensively as academic/scholarly journals. Bibliographies tend to be brief and might include references from other trade publications, from journals, or even from magazines and newspapers.
Advertisements: Advertisements are typically geared toward so-called "tools of the trade." In other words, in a law enforcement publication, advertisements will likely be for police uniforms or bulletproof vests or automobile laptop systems. Consumer advertisements are usually the domain of magazines.
Overall Appearance: Trade journals might have glossy, high-impact covers or might have plainer, less catchy covers. In general, the articles, themselves, will include illustrations and photographs and might even have references to other sources of information on the topics covered.