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Communication 422: Communication Theories: Evaluating

Articles: Scholarly or Popular?

Scholarly & Popular Articles

When you need to use popular and scholarly articles in your project, do you know how to tell which one is which? Identifying scholarly articles involves analysis of the article's content. The chart below is meant to help you in this process; any one criteria by itself may not indicate that an article is scholarly. For example, a 30 page photo spread about stars at the Academy Awards in People is probably not scholarly.

Length Longer articles, providing in-depth analysis of topics
Authorship Author an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided
Language/Audience Written in the language of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students)
Format/Structure Articles usually more structured, and may (especially in social sciences and sciences) include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography
Special Features Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs
Editors Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field (refereed or peer-reviewed)
Credits A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly

Check out the Scholarly Journal v. Popular Magazine Articles guide for the full tips. Adapted from chart created by Celita DeArmond.

Ulrichsweb: Is it a scholarly journal?

Search for the title of a journal, newspaper, or magazine to see what type of publication it is using Ulrichsweb.