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Home > Academics > Library > Scholarly vs Popular Guide

Scholarly vs Popular Guide

Scholarly Journals
Popular Magazine Articles

Characteristics Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines


The Library Quarterly

Serious and plain with graphs & charts to illustrate concepts and few photos or advertisements

Newsweek Magazine

Attractive, glossy pages with many color photos and advertisements

Intended Audience

Researchers, academics and college students    


General public

Writing Style/

Formal writing style with terminology specific to the field. Usually structured (i.e., abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography)

Informal writing style and language with no set structure or format


To present original research

To provide general information and entertainment


Experts or authorities in the field (e.g., researchers or academics)

Staff or freelance writers and journalists


Sources are cited with footnotes & bibliographies or works cited

May mention sources in text, but no formal citations


Articles are reviewed and evaluated by a board of experts in the field (a peer-reviewed or refereed process)

Articles are reviewed by the editors of the magazine


International Journal of Sociology, Journal of Social History, The American Journal of Public Health

Time, National Geographic, New Yorker, U.S. News


(jk 5/07)