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TCC Library: Popular and scholarly articles

Library "How do I...?"

Welcome to TCC Library "How Do I...?"

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What's the difference between popular and scholarly articles?

Understanding the differences between popular and scholarly articles

Depending on your assignment, you may find yourself needing popular articles, scholarly articles, or both for your research.

Popular articles (magazines, newspapers, some websites)

  • Are often written by journalists or other non-academic writers.
  • Written for the general public.
  • Are often shorter than academic articles and edited for readability.
  • Often include pictures and advertisements.
  • May discuss studies without citing them -- but popular publications that are credible will include links within the article to studies or sources they are quoting or using info from!

Examples of popular publications: Time, People, The Wall Street Journal,

Scholarly articles (journals, conference proceedings)

  • Are written by faculty, professionals, researchers or scholars (biologists, programmers, sociologists, doctors, artists) for their colleagues.
  • Use scholarly, professional or technical language.
  • Are longer articles about research or evaluations of research.
  • Are structured with sub-headings, like for "Methods" or "Data Findings."
  • Include images like graphs, tables, or other visuals related to the research.
  • Include citations for sources and studies in a bibliography or works cited.
  • Are often (but not always) peer-reviewed.

Examples of scholarly publications: Nature, Computational Biology, Perspectives on Political Science

Related library guides:

Library "How do I?" credits

The TCC Library "How do I?" guide is adapted from the Library DIY project created by Meredith Farkas, Amy Hofer, Lisa Molinelli and Kimberly Willson-St. Clair at Portland State University Library. Several Library "How Do I?" pages are adapted from pages within the Portland Community College Library "How do I" project, as well as the Oregon State University Libraries' Library DIY project.

CC BY SA license

Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.
This openly licensed content allows others to cite, share, or modify this content, with credit to TCC Library. When reusing or adapting this content, include this statement in the new document: This content was originally created by Tacoma Community College Library and shared with a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

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