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Scholarly Resources: What's the Difference?

Click a question to see the answer.

  • What's in them?
  • Who writes them?
  • Who reads them?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are their advantages?
  • What are their disadvantages?
Scholarly Popular
Articles presenting original research or events related to a specific discipline Articles about current events and popular culture, opinion pieces, fiction, self-help tips
Professors, researchers, or professionals; credentials are usually stated in article Staff writers or free-lancers; names or credentials often not stated
Scholars (professors, researchers, students) knowledgeable about a specific discipline
General public

Mostly text supported by black and white figures, graphs, tables, or charts; few advertisements
Glossy, color photographs, easy-to-read layout, plenty of advertising

Articles are usually critically evaluated by experts before they can be published (peer-reviewed)

Footnotes or bibliographies support research and point to further research on a topic

Authors describe methodology and supply data used to support research results

Written for non-specialists

Timely coverage of popular topics and current events

Provide broad overview of topics

Good source for topics related to popular culture

Articles often use technical jargon and can be difficult for non-specialists to read

Scholarly journals are expensive and may not be as readily available

Research and review process take time; not as useful for current events or popular culture

Articles are selected by editors who may know very little about a topic

Authors usually do not cite sources

Published to make a profit; the line between informing and selling may be blurred