Q. What is the difference between scholarly sources and popular sources?
The terms scholarly and popular are used to describe significant differences between sources of information. In general terms, a source is considered scholarly or popular depending on how many qualities of either distinction they possess as listed below.
Qualities of Scholarly Sources
- Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
- Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
- Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
- Purpose: Published by non-profit or education organizations to communicate new ideas.
- Characteristics: Tend to be longer and are on very specific topics.
- Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
- Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied (i.e. Peer-Reviewed).
Qualities of Popular Sources
- Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public.
- Audience: Written for the general public.
- Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
- Purpose: Often published by for-profit companies for revenue and profit.
- Characteristics: Tend to be short and on topics of general interest.
- Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
- Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.
If you do not find the answer to your question in our FAQ list, please contact us during business hours at the number posted below - or use the form below to email a question to us.