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Thomas Library

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

WHAT IS A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL?

A scholarly journal contains articles and letters written by scholars to report results of research and other scholarly activities. For most academic papers, scholarly articles are excellent and preferred sources for supporting your arguments.

WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL?

  • Scholarly journals are usually published or sponsored by a professional society or association.
  • There may be a list of reviewers on the first few pages. This type of journal is known as a "juried", "refereed", or "peer reviewed" journal. In such journals, all articles are reviewed by experts before publication so the journals tend to be considered among the best in their fields.

Some Differences between Scholarly and Popular publications:
 

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL

POPULAR MAGAZINE

Audience

Professionals, Professors, Graduate Students

Lay People, folks without a college degree in the subject

Indexing

Indexed in an academic database and/or in a subject-specific indexe like Biological Abstracts, Historical Abstracts, Art Index, etc. May be included in ProQuest/Periodical Abstracts.

Indexed in general-purpose indexes like Readers' Guide or ProQuest/Periodical Abstracts.

Language

Field-specific language/jargon, requires reader to be in touch with other research in the field.

Written in everyday language accessible to any generally knowledgeable reader.

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ARTICLE IN A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL?


Some Differences between the articles in Scholarly and Popular publications:
 

SCHOLARLY ARTICLES

POPULAR ARTICLES

Author

Author's credentials in the field are established (e.g., institutional affiliation, maybe degrees, etc.)

Authors may not have special qualifications for writing article; credentials are not given

Bibliography

Yes.

Probably not.

Research

Usually based on original research or new applications of others' research.

The author is usually a reporter; he or she will have done research for the article, but not "original" research the actual lab work, math, or theoretical analysis.