Q. What's the difference between scholarly and popular sources?


Sources are often categorized as "popular" and "scholarly" based on how they are produced and the intended readership. Here are some of the characteristics that define these types of sources:

Three Scholarly Journals

Characteristics of Scholarly Sources

  • Publications often focus on a specific discipline or sub-discipline.
  • For books, publishers will often be scholarly such as a University Press.
  • Authors are typically scholars and/or researchers.
  • Works are written for faculty/researchers using technical terms and jargon.
  • Articles tend to be longer and focus on a very specific aspect of a topic.
  • Cited sources will be listed either throughout the work and/or at the end in a bibliography.
Three Magazines
Characteristics of Popular Sources
  • Publications often focus on a variety of topics or within a larger discipline.
  • For books, publishers will often be ones that publish for general audiences.
  • Authors are typically staff writers or journalists.
  • Works are written for the general public.
  • Articles tend to be shorter in length and provide more general information.
  • Sources are rarely listed within or at the end of an article. Sources may or may not be listed for book publications.
  • Last Updated Sep 10, 2020
  • Views 18
  • Answered By Johanna MacKay

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