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How do you tell the difference between a scholarly article and a popular article? Your professor says that you have to have scholarly journal articles for your research project. Let’s look at what scholarly journals are and what popular magazines are ~and then the differences between the two!
Scholarly Journals • Definitions Journal articles that are written by experts or authorities in a professional or academic field to report their research or scholarly opinion of a topic. Often called peer reviewed or refereed because referees in the subject area review and evaluate the article before accepting it for publication. • When to use an article from a scholarly journal? - For doing most college research - For finding out what has been researched and studied on your topic
Magazines • Definition: A magazine is a periodical written for the general public to inform and entertain. This is what you buy in the grocery store, drug store, etc. Often referred to as popular magazines. • When to use an article from a popular magazine: – for a general understanding of a topic – for information on popular culture and hot topics – for general articles on topics written for the general public for information or entertainment
Scholarly articles vs. Popular articles ~ the differences: • Authors: Scholarly – experts or authorities in professional or academic fields Popular – staff or freelance writers, often unsigned • Purpose: Scholarly – to report original research and research findings Popular – to entertain or inform in a general way; not original research
Scholarly articles vs. Popular articles ~ the differences • Intended Audience: Scholarly – scholars, researchers, practitioners in an academic or professional field Popular – general audience • Language: Scholarly – technical jargon of the subject area Popular – simple language that anyone could read
Scholarly articles vs. Popular articles ~ the differences: • Documentation of sources used: Scholarly – includes references and bibliography of resources used Popular – Does not give references to where information was obtained but may mention research or researcher’s findings • Editing: Scholarly – goes through a peer review process before accepted for publication and often referred to as peer reviewed or refereed. Popular – edited by magazine editors for readability and suitability for the magazine’s purpose
Scholarly articles vs. Popular articles ~ the differences • Illustrations: Scholarly – sparsely illustrated with charts, diagrams or appropriate photographs related to the research and has advertisements that appeal to professionals in the field Popular – heavily illustrated with glossy covers and pictures and contains a lot of advertisements for the general public So, how can you tell whether an article is scholarly or popular in a database?
Most databases will give you the option of limiting your search to: Peer reviewed For example, in Info. Trac One. File this is how you limit to peer reviewed articles:
• Check the box for limiting to peer reviewed publications. The database will limit the search for you.
• Results of Info. Trac search:
This is a peer-reviewed search in Psyc. INFO, an Ebsco database:
Results of the Psyc. INFO search: Any questions? Ask a Librarian!