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Popular vs. Scholarly Sources: Compare and Contrast

Popular Journals

Popular Articles aka Magazines

  • Are often written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience
  • Use language easily understood by general readers
  • Rarely give full citations for sources
  • Written for the general public
  • Tend to be shorter than journal articles

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly aka Peer-reviewed Articles

  • Are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars (chemists, historians, doctors, artists, etc.)
  • Use scholarly or technical language
  • Tend to be longer articles about research
  • Include full citations for sources 
  • Are often refereed or peer reviewed (articles are reviewed by an editor and other specialists before being accepted for publication)
  • Book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals
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