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Popular vs. Scholarly

Popular Magazines:

  • Are written for anyone to understand
  • They contain many glossy, color photographs and advertisements
  • The authors are generalists or journalists
  • The articles are usually short, cover a wide range of topics, and do not have bibliographies or references

You may be familiar with these magazines: GQ, Glamour, People, Rolling Stone, and Time.

  • GQ
  • Glamour
  • People
  • Rolling Stone
  • Time

Scholarly Journals

  • Are written for scholarly readers such as researchers, professionals in a field, and students
  • They are usually made up of black & white text, and have charts, graphs, tables, and figures to support the text
  • The authors are experts in their fields
  • The articles are generally long and in-depth, containing case studies and research, and often include bibliographies or references

Some examples of scholarly journals are: Educational Research Quarterly, The Journal of the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, and Nursing Science Quarterly. Notice that a clue that a publication might be scholarly can sometimes be found in the title— look for "Journal," "Research," "Review" or "Quarterly."

  • Educational Research Quarterly
  • JACS
  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
  • National Science Quarterly

Side-by-side, you can see the obvious differences between popular and scholarly sources! When conducting research you want to use scholarly sources instead of popular ones.

Watch the brief video below for a more detailed description of the differences between a popular source and a scholarly source.