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EN 106 Reading, Thinking, and Writing II: Scholarly (Peer-Review) vs. Popular Sources

Terminology

The terms scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed and refereed are sometimes used interchangeably, although there are slight differences.  Articles that are peer-reviewed are published in scholarly journals.  These journals are important sources for doing academic research and as you progress in your academic career it is likely you will use many peer-reviewed articles to complete your assignments. 

 

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources Video

From Carnegie Vincent Library.

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

 

Scholarly

Popular

Written by: Researchers -- experts such as scientists, physicians, historians.  Most are employed by colleges and universities but not all. Staff writers, journalists, bloggers.  Authors of articles may not always be identified.
Audience: Other experts in the same discipline. Articles are a way of sharing knowledge among peers.  While college students read a lot of peer-reviewed articles, they are actually written to communicate with other other researchers! General readers. These sources can be found on a newsstand or in a bookstore.
Vocabulary/Language Serious, formal, dense. Uses specialized terminology of the profession. No special language. Easy to read.
Quality control: Peer-reviewed. This means other researchers within the same discipline have reviewed the article for quality. Edited by publisher.
Purpose: To communicate research findings and results of studies.  News. Entertainment.
Appearance/Design: Little to no advertising. Charts & graphs. No illustrations or photos.  Mostly text. Glossy, attractive design. Advertising.
Length of article: Long. 10 pages or more is typical. Short. Feature articles may be longer.
Publication frequency: Typically infrequent. Monthly or quarterly publication is common. Daily, weekly, monthly.  Varies by publication.
Cost: Expensive.  Often found in libraries & library databases. Inexpensive, affordable.
Format: Often includes descriptive title, abstract, literature reviews, methodologies, results & conclusions. Each discipline has its own standards for communicating research but all articles include a list of references.  All research is based on prior research. No special format. Typically does not list references although there are some exceptions.
Examples:

New England Journal of Medicine.

Journal of Health, Population & Nutrition.

Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

The New York Times

The Economist

Prevention Magazine

Psychology Today

People Magazine

National Enquirer