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BSC 2010 Principles of Biology I: Scholarly vs Popular

This information pathfinder is designed to help students with library research as they complete various assignments in Professor Morata's class at the Wolfson Campus.

Popular

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles - Guide


 

What are the  differences between popular and scholarly articles?

Popular Articles (Magazines)

  • Are often written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience
  • Use language easily understood by general readers
  • Rarely give full citations for sources
  • Written for the general public
  • Tend to be shorter than journal articles

Examples of Popular Magazines:

Business Week cover Time cover Discover cover
US New & World Report cover Astronomy cover  

 

Scholarly

Scholarly Articles (Journals) (Peer Reviewed)

  • Are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars (chemists, historians, doctors, artists, etc.)
  • Uses scholarly or technical language
  • Tend to be longer articles about research
  • Include full citations for sources
  • Are often refereed or peer reviewed (articles are reviewed by an editor and other specialists before being accepted for publication)
  • Book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals

Examples of Scholarly Journals:

American Journal of Political Science cover Business History Review cover International Journal of Middle East Studies cover
Child Development cover The Classical Review cover

Some points to remember:

  • Both magazine and journal articles can be good sources for your work.
  • When selecting articles, think about how you intend to use the information:
    • Do you want background on a topic new to you? (use magazines)
    • Did your teacher say to cite scholarly resources? (use journals)
  • Often a combination of the two will be most appropriate for undergraduate research.