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Scholarly vs. Popular Publications: Home

Why are Scholarly Sources Useful?

  • Written and reviewed by expert scholars
  • Articles contain original research that enhance the field of study
  • Arguments are supported by evidence and findings of other scholars
  • Quality and accuracy are assesed through the peer-review process

For More Information on Scholarly Sources

What kind of article is this?


Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines/Newspapers

Professional or Trade Journals


Reports on original research & analysis done by scholars and experts in the field.

Entertains or informs without a lot of technical detail.  (news, opinion, special interests)

Shares information about new products or techniques useful to people in a particular field or profession.


Primarily experts (peers) in the field, university researchers, scholars, etc.

 Journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff.

Specialists in a certain field or profession or an editorial staff.


People with knowledge of the topic such as professors, researchers, scholars & students.

General population or people with special interests.

Professionals in a particular field. 


Usually bland cover design, few advertisements, & frequently includes charts and graphs.

Usually glossy with color illustrations and many advertisements.

Frequently glossy with advertisements related to the particular field or profession.

Article length

Generally long articles including original research or in-depth analysis of topics, usually with a very specific focus.

Mostly shorter articles with broad overviews or reports on a particular event or issue.

Usually short to medium length articles.


Original research and analysis. Usually includes abstract, methodology, summary, suggestions for further research & a bibliography or footnotes.  Sometimes contains book reviews on new books in the field.

Short general interest topics with some feature-length articles, news, and/or opinion. Sometimes includes book and film reviews.

Trends, new developments, or future projections in a particular field or profession, and related news. Sometimes contains book reviews or ads for new books in the field.

Writing style

Uses specialized terminology or jargon relevant to the discipline.

Uses language that a high-school student could understand.

Assumes reader is familiar with the field.  Uses some specialized terminology or jargon.


Includes references, footnotes, or a listing of works cited.

Seldom has references.

Articles may have references, but often do not.


Educational Psychology

American Journal of Education



New York Times

National Paralegal Reporter

Edutopia: What Works in Public Education

Poets and Writers

Why are Popular Publications Useful?

  • Offer introductory information on a topic or issue
  • Vocabularly and terminology used is understood by the general public
  • Many contain opinion or editorial content useful in supporting a position
  • Include images, statistics and advertisements

Editorial Process of Popular Publications

  • Editors oversee careful review and correction of journal content written by staff and freelance writers
  • Editors are responsible for ensuring work is accurate and based on fact
  • Opinion, commentary and editorials also undergo editing

Examples of Popular Publications

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