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ENGL 057 - Critical Connections in Reading and Writing - Trout

Scholarly or Popular

This table illustrates the differences between scholarly and popular publications.
Consider the...

Scholarly Publications...

Popular Publications...

Length of Articles

...are lengthy (often more than 10 pages), and include abstract, methods, results, and discussions.

...are shorter in length (between 1 and 10 pages), and do not have subsections.


...are intended for an academic or professional audience familiar with the subject.

...are general interest articles written for the public, with no expectations of specialized knowledge. 


...are written by academics, specialists, or researchers in the field.

...are written by journalists or professional writers.


...include a bibliography (called References, Works Cited, or Footnotes). The reader can then consult the material that the author used.

...does not include a bibliography with the article, although an editor will check the writer's sources.


...are usually published monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

...are usually published daily, weekly, or monthly.


... include reviews of the literature, charts, data, and tables. Any advertising is specialized, and kept to a minimum.

...include many photographs or illustrations. They also include advertisements for various consumer products.


...are confined to a single, specific aspect of a subject area such as music theory, European political science, film studies, language development, child psychology, etc.

...either cover a variety of topics (such as Time, People, and Newsweek) or a single subject area with the intention of entertaining and informing (such as Cooking Light or Sports Illustrated).


...employ a technical or specialized vocabulary unique to a subject area.

...use conventional or conversational language, appropriate for most readers.


...are peer reviwed, meaning articles are sent to experts in the subject who evaluate credibility.

... are edited by publication staff.