Skip to main content

Main Navigation Menu

Popular vs. Scholarly Resources

This guide provides basic information about the difference between, and the characteristics of popular and scholarly resourcess.

Characteristics of scholarly and popular resources

Scholarly Journals


Popular Magazines

Publication has a narrow scope or is limited to a specific field or sub-field of study; goal is to promote and disseminate scholarly research


Publication is designed for a broad, general audience; primary goal is to make a profit

Intended for academic or specialized audiences such as professors, researchers, students


Does not require expertise in the field to understand the information; designed for the general population

Has tables and graphics


Has pictures and media included

Has references, bibliographies, notes and/or works cited included


May have verified facts, but does not include references or bibliographies

Has little or no advertising; included advertising promotes books, journals, conferences


Has advertising

Has an author and author affiliations; authors are experts in their respective field


May or may not have an author listed; authors are generalists, journalists, or freelance writers

Published by a scholarly press or professional organization


Published by a for-profit entity

Editorial board of scholars in the field who review articles prior to publication in a process known as refereed or peer-review


Editor is a journalist who works for the publisher