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WRIT 340: Advanced Writing for Arts and Humanities: Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Published in an academic journal, described also as refereed or peer-reviewed Published in a popular, general interest, or news magazine
Author is expert on topic or scholar Author may be lay reporter
Specialized audience of peers or students Audience includes general public
Goal is to inform or present research Goal is often to entertain or persuade
Research-based Report events or findings of others
Includes sources: footnotes and bibliography Sources may not be cited formally
Vocabulary is complex and technical Vocabulary is familiar, non-technical
Graphics used to illustrate a point Graphics used for visual impact
Titles may include the words Journal, Review, or Annals; and/or refer to a field of study. Examples: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Journal of Higher Education Titles often general, usually catchier. Examples: People Weekly, Newsweek
Published monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually Published weekly or monthly

Often your professor will tell you to choose only "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" article resources when you do research for a paper.  This table shows some key contrasts between scholarly and popular resources.  Many of the Libraries' article citation databases include an option to search only scholarly, but not all do, so this table should come in handy.

Secondary sources

In general, secondary sources are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources.

In other words, it tells you what someone now thinks about something that happened some time ago, when the writer wasn't there him- or herself.  For example, if someone asks each of you how the Summer Bridge program went, and then writes up an evaluation based on your answers, that's a secondary source.

Subject Guide

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Chimene Tucker
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