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Popular vs. Scholarly Literature
Simply stated, all periodicals are publications that are published periodically. Periodicals are not all the same. Periodicals are presented in different mediums, they utilize different publication processes, and they appeal to a variety of readerships. Below you will find three types of periodicals. You will also find some distinctions between what the academic community considers popular and scholarly literature.
Popular Sources: Newspapers and Magazines
Written for a general audience, using language that is easy to understand as well as pictures and advertisements.
Good for current news, opinions, and statistics.
Contain articles regarding timely subject matter.
Articles are usually written by reporters and columnists rather than specialists.
Articles may contain sources for authenticity, but newspaper articles do not contain footnotes or reference lists.
Subject matter can be either general or focused on a particular topic.
Scholarly Sources: Journals
Communicate scholarly research regarding a specific field of study.
Are often only published after being peer reviewed by other experts in the field.
Research is documented throughout the article.
Reference to other research in the field is documented.
Scholarly journals can contain research articles of an empirical nature. These usually include abstracts, introductions, methods, results, discussions, conclusions, and references.
Adapted by Joy Lambert from Matt Mallard and Suellen Cox
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