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EN 125: College Composition & Research

Types of Sources

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources

  • Scholarly: used in research, often containing specialized vocabulary and extensive sources. The content has been reviewed by academic peers (peer-review) to ensure reliability and validity.
  • Popular: written typically to entertain, inform, or persuade for a general audience. Popular sources help you find information about current events or issues.
  • Trade publications: shares general news, trends, and opinions among practitioners in a certain industry or profession. Although generally written by experts, they are not considered scholarly because they do not focus on advancing new knowledge discovery or reporting research results and are not peer-reviewed.

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

In the database you're using:

  1. Go to LIMITERS on the left side of your search results.
  2. Select Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals under LIMIT TO.



Let's Compare!



Time or Newsweek


Journal of American College Health

Visible, eyecatching, variety of subjects. Possibly none at all. If any, are related to field.
General public. Targeted to scholars and professionals.
Staff writers and freelance writers. Experts in their field (researchers, specialists, professors)
No citations, no sources, no footnotes. Always cited, always provides sources.
Informal and conversational style. Standard format dictated by the field (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
Commercial. University or professional association.
Inform and entertain. Keep scholars and professionals current in research findings.
Review Policy
Articles are selected by a managing editor. Peer-review process (panel of experts in a field decide on validity).