Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

Trocaire College Libraries

When writing a research paper, professors will often ask that your information comes from scholarly sources

So what does this mean??

Scholarly Resources:

  • Often referred to as academic or peer-reviewed journals and articles.
  • For books, you should easily find qualified reviews (New York Times Review of Books, Choice, Kirkus Reviews).
  • More comprehensive writing as they are written for professionals in the field.
  • Written with the purpose of educating/informing the reader of academic research and studies.
  • Uses words and terms that are understandable by professionals in that discipline.
  • Could be boring and confusing to readers who are not professionals in that field.
  • Illustrations in articles are limited to tables and graphs.
  • Citations throughout of other works on the subject.
  • Any research conducted contains all methodologies and experiments conducted.

Popular Resources

  • Magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, social media are popular sources.
  • Written for general audience so they can be understood by anyone.
  • Many graphics, pictures, photographs or other illustrations.
  • Content is focused on holding the readers' interest.
  • Topics and content is more 'fun' that a scholarly publication.
  • Advertisements, website cookies, social plugins or third party apps.
  • Sources not always mentioned or may be anonymous and are never cited.
  • Research or study information is not provided in full or is not linked.

Learn More About Scholarly Resources

Click here to learn more about scholarly journal articles
Created April 2020