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Engaging Research

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Criteria Scholarly Article                                                        
Popular Article
Authorship

 

Authors are scholars and experts in the field. Authors are always named, and their institutional affiliation is given.    

Authors are staff writers or journalists.
Publisher

 

Publishers may be university presses or professional associations. Articles may be edited through the peer-review process by scholars in the same field of study.

Publishers are corporations, working for profit.
Content/Length     

 

Articles are longer with a focus on research projects, methodology and theory. Language is more formal, technical, using discipline specific terminology.

 

Articles may be shorter with a general focus on the topic and written for news or entertainment value.

Sources Cited

 

Sources are cited and a bibliography or footnotes provided to document the research.

Sources are not usually cited.
Structure

 

Article may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and a bibliography.   

Specific format is not followed.
Audience

 

Audience consists of academics, scholars, researchers, and professionals.

Audience is the general public.

What is a scholarly article?

Is it scholarly or just popular?

Beyond scholarly vs popular

There's actually more to this than ads or no ads/ references or no references.  There are various sorts of "peer review."   Also some folks would decide whether an article is valuable or not simply based on the reputation of the journal where it is published. One controversial measure of that is journal "impact factor."  Here are some links in case you would like to explore these issues further.