Question and Answer
How do I tell the difference between popular and scholarly sources?
Popular sources (e.g. magazines or newspapers)
- are often written by journalists or professional writers for the average reader.
- rarely give full citations for sources.
- are written for the general public.
- tend to be shorter.
Scholarly sources (e.g. journals)
- are written by and for faculty, researchers and other experts in a field (like chemists, historians, doctors, or artists).
- use scholarly or technical language.
- tend to consist of longer articles about research.
- include full citations for sources.
- are reviewed by multiple specialists/experts in the field of study before being accepted
Note: Book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals.
Try our interactive tutorial: Popular vs Scholarly Sources to learn more about these differences.