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ENGL 003 - Strategy Based Reading III - Cuba: Scholarly vs Popular

  Scholarly vs. Popular

Magazines and Journals

Magazines and Journals are published regularly and as a result usually have much more up-to-date information than a normal reference book. However, not all journals and magazines are appropriate for research.

Popular Magazines are meant for general readers. Articles are usually short and easy to understand, but it is impossible to know where the writer got their information. Magazines like these are ones like you could buy off the shelf in a store. These are normally not appropriate sources for academic research.

  • Ex. National Geographic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Time

Scholarly/Academic Journals are written by experts for experts. They are based on research that the writer has conducted, and the writer gives citations for all their information. Usually, scholarly sources are peer reviewed, meaning that other experts have approved this article before hand. So, we can more easily trust scholarly journals, and they are appropriate to use in your research.

Comparing Scholarly and Popular Sources

These are general characteristics of scholarly journals and popular magazines.

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

Length of Articles

Long (5-50 Pages)

Short (1-5 Pages)


Uses scientific words.

Uses everyday language.


Sometimes charts or tables to show data from research.

Many photographs or other illustrations.

Extensive advertising.


Written by experts, doctors, researchers, or other specialists in the field.

Journalists who may not be experts in the field.


Intended for researchers and other experts.


No special knowledge needed.

Where did the author’s information come from?

Bibliography, also called footnotes, works cited, or cited references.

Allows the reader to find the same sources that the author used in his/her research.


Reading a Scholarly Article

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article