What is the difference between popular and scholarly articles?


To better understand the differences between popular and scholarly articles, comparing characteristics and purpose of the publications where these articles appear is helpful.

Popular Article (Magazine)

  • Articles are shorter and are written for the general public
  • General interest topics or current events are covered
  • Language is simple and easy to understand
  • Source material is not cited
  • Articles often include glossy photographs, graphics, or visuals
  • Articles are written by the publication's staff of journalists
  • Articles are edited and information is fact checked

Examples of magazines that contain popular articles:


Magazine covers where articles intended for the general population are published.

Scholarly Article (Academic Journal)

  • Articles are written by scholars and researchers for academics, professionals, and experts in the field
  • Articles are longer and report original research findings
  • Topics are narrower in focus and provide in-depth analysis
  • Technical or scholarly language is used
  • Source material is cited
  • Charts and graphs illustrating research findings are included
  • Many are "peer reviewed" meaning that panels of experts review articles submitted for publication to ensure that proper research methods were used and research findings are contributing something new to the field before selecting for publication.
  • Articles are edited and information is fact checked

Examples of academic journals that contain scholarly articles:


Covers of academic journals where original research is published.

  • Last Updated May 04, 2018
  • Views 28429
  • Answered By Suzanne Schriefer, Librarian

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