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Pro/Con: Controversial Issue Research Guide - Longview

This guide will help you find resources to prepare an argumentative research paper.

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources - Guide

What is the difference between popular and scholarly articles?

Popular Articles (Magazines)

  • You could buy in a grocery store.
  • Often report current events or SUMMARIZE research.
  • Use language easily understood by general readers.
  • Sources may be quoted, but rarely give bibliographies or full references.
  • Written for general public.
  • Tend to be shorter than journal articles.

Examples of Popular Magazines:


Scholarly Articles (Journals)

  • Are written by scholars, researchers, faculty, and academics within a chosen field.
  • Use scholarly or technical language.
  • Are research based – contain a methodology used to conduct the research and the results of the research.
  • Are often REFEREED or PEER REVIEWED (it has gone through a process of review by a panel of experts in that specific field of study).
  • Contain full citations and a list of references for sources.
  • Book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals.

Examples of Scholarly Journals:

Some points to remember:

  • Both magazines and journal articles can be good sources for your work.
  • If you want background information on a topic new to you, use magazines.
  • If you are required to cite scholarly sources, use journals.
  • Often a combination of the two will be most appropriate for undergraduate research.