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LIT - ENGL 1301

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles

Often your instructor will require "Scholarly" or "Peer-Reviewed" articles for your assignment.  These are articles written for a college level audience and deal with topics in much greater detail than articles found in "Popular" magazines.  The following general characteristics will help you determine whether or not an article is "Scholarly" or "Peer-Reviewed":


Popular Magazine



Written for a general audience

Written for a college level audience

Written by professional journalists who may or may not be experts on the topic written about

Written by an expert or group of experts in a particular area of study

Usually content is reviewed by a single editor who may or may not be an expert on the topic

Often reviewed by fellow experts to ensure quality of scholarship (Peer-Reviewed)

Author’s credentials may or may not be listed

Author’s credentials are usually clearly listed

Rarely includes footnotes or citations

Typically includes footnotes and/or cited references

Written at an 8th grade level

Scholarly Language/Technical Jargon

Wide range of topics covered

Narrow focus

Often contains advertisements and many images

Typically no advertisements or photographs

Widely available at newsstands and bookstores

Usually only available by subscription

Examples: Time, Newsweek, People, Rolling Stone

Examples:  American Journal of Political Science, Business History Review, Journal of American History, Journal of Applied Psychology

When in doubt, it is always best to check with your instructor or a librarian.

Many databases allow you to limit your search to "Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed" Journals.  Often this option can be found to the side of your search results or on the advanced search screen.  Be on the lookout for this option when you are searching in databases! 

Here is an example of the limit option from Academic Search Complete

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