Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Process: A Step-by-Step Approach: 2b - Find Information Sources: Popular vs. Scholarly

Guide to help students familiarize themselves with the research process and useful library tools.

Popular vs. Scholarly Resources

 

Identifying Popular Articles

Overview Newspaper/Magazine Articles:

  • Heavily illustrated with lots of color
  • Has advertisements
  • Visual cover layouts
  • Short titles
  • Attention grabbing headlines

Article Overview:

  • Main purpose of articles is to get readers to purchase the magazine
  • Short in length
  • Authors are staff writers with the magazine, rarely specialists on topics
  • Language easy-to-read, little technical jargon
  • No review process other than editorial review
  • No guarantee the information is accurate, unbiased, or appropriate and may be difficult to verify
  • Intended for general audience or specific, targeted non-professional groups

Identifying Scholarly Articles

Journal Overview

  • Title clearly identifies subject matter and often includes the word "journal"
  • Cover layout typically the same from issue to issue
  • Few advertisements or images
  • Pages are typically not glossy with little color
  • No headlines

Article Overview:

  • Typically lenghty (over 5 pages)
  • Covers specific, narrow topics using technical terms and academic language
  • Not intended for general public
  • Title clearly identifies subject matter and an abstract provides overview of article content
  • Includes in-text citation and lists references at the end
  • Features little or no color, images support research purposes
  • Written by authorities in topic area or field of study (credentials often listed)
  • Main purpose is to report original, current research data to individuals in the scholarly and professional arenas (researchers, academics and students).
  • Refereed/peer reviewed by experts in the field