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Popular vs. Scholarly Articles (Exercise)
Popular and Scholarly Articles Distinguished (From UC Santa Cruz University Library.)
The compilation of resources for research papers or projects necessarily includes not only books, but also articles from periodicals (i.e., journals and/or magazines)—vital sources of up-to-date information and scholarship. When issuing assignments, instructors often specify whether articles consulted are to be from popular or scholarly publications (the former usually referred to as magazines, the latter as journals). Although popular sources are not without merit and may also contain well-considered writing, the purpose of distinguishing between these types of works is to determine their degree of authority and depth of research on a given topic, and thereby their intrinsic academic value. The following chart points out the distinctions between popular and scholarly periodicals.
Popular vs. Scholarly
|Broad range of topics, presented in shorter articles
||Specific, often narrowly focused topics in lengthy, in-depth articles
|Articles offer overview of subject matter; reportage, rather than original research; sometimes contain feature articles and reports on current social issues andpublic opinion
||Articles often contain previously unpublished research and detail new developments in field
|Intended to attract a general readership without any particular expertise or advanced education
||Intended for specialist readership of researchers, academics, students and professionals
|Written by staff (not always attributed) or freelance writers using general, popular language
||Written by specialists and researchers in subject area, usually employing technical, subject-specific language and jargon
|Edited and approved for publication in-house (not peer-reviewed)
||Critically evaluated by peers (fellow scholars) in field for content, scholarly soundness, and academic value
|Articles rarely contain references or footnotes and follow no specific format
||Well-researched, documented articles nearly always follow standard format:
abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography/references
|Designed to attract eye of potential newsstand customers: usually filled with photographs or illustrations, printed on glossier paper
||Sober design: mostly text with some tables or graphs accompanying articles; usually little or no photography; negligible, if any, advertising; rarely printed on high-gloss paper
|Each issue begins with page number '1'
||Page numbers of issues within a volume (year) are usually consecutive (i.e., first page of succeeding issue is number following last page number of previous issue)
|Presented to entertain, promote point of view, and/or sell products
||Intended to present researchers' opinions and findingsbased on original research
|Examples: Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vogue
||Examples: American Sociological Review, Journal of Popular Culture, Sustainable Agriculture
Bad Science (Exercise)
Compare these articles and list 3 factors for each one why you think it exhibits good or bad science.