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Popular vs Scholarly: Popular vs Scholarly Journals

Comparison of popular versus scholarly articles.

Identifying Popular Articles

icon for periodicalsIdentifying Features
Authorship Journalists, staff writers, non-specialists, credentials not included
Audience General audience
Language Non-technical language for a general audience
Length/Structure Tend to be shorter in length; no specific format or structure; provide broad overviews of a topic; secondary review of other people's work
Special Features Glossy, full-color photos, illustrations, advertising for a general audience
Editors Articles not evaluated by experts in the field; reviewed by editorial staff
Credits/References Bibliography or works cited list not usually included but sources may be identified within article


Scholarly and Popular Sources

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Identifying Scholarly Articles

icon for academic journalsIdentifying Features
Authorship Researchers, scientists, experts in the field; credentials included in article, including advanced academic degrees (Ph.D., J.D., M.D., Ed.D., etc.)
Audience Scholars, professors, other experts
Language Jargon of the discipline written for scholarly audience with insider knowledge
Length/Structure Longer articles with in-depth analysis, highly structured with multiple sections (abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, discussion, conclusion, references); primary research
Special Features Illustrations that support the text, including graphs, charts, tables. Little or no advertising. Rarely glossy.
Editors Editorial boards comprised of experts in the discipline; articles are critically reviewed by a panel of peers to assess validity of research method, analysis, and conclusions
Credits/References Comprehensive citation or resource lists, in-text citations


Trade Publications

Identifying Features
Authorship Knowledgeable insiders writing for other professionals in the industry
Audience Industry professionals
Language Industry specific but more general than scholarly
Length/Structure Vary in length but typically shorter than scholarly articles; current trends and news
Special Features Glossy with full-color photos and illustrations; advertising geared to industry professionals
Editors Editorial staff review; not peer-reviewed
Credits/References Bibliography or works cited list not usually included


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