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Popular Resources vs. Scholarly Resources: Home

Popular & Scholarly Resources

You may find it in the assignment criteria that you should use scholarly resources or articles from scholarly journals, instead of popular resources. What are scholarly resources? What are popular resources? What are the differences between them? Are popular resources bad to use? Use this guide to learn the differences and find out more.

Popular Resources

Examples of Popular Resources


Characteristics of Popular Resources

Examples: Astronomy, Business Week, The Economists, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, or USA Today.
Authors: Generalists, professional writers, news commentators, or journalists

General public, without the requirement of special knowledge or educational background


Entertaining, advocating or sharing

Language style: Easy to read, opinion-based
Length: Short with trending social jargons
Design: Visually attractive and flashy, including glossy photographs, illustrations, and commercial advertisements
Citation: No formal citation but may include sources of texts
Publishing process: Reviewed by in-house editors or not at all

Scholarly Resources

Examples of Scholarly Resources

Characteristics of Scholarly Resources

Examples: Nature, Modern Fiction Studies, Musical Quarterly, The New England Journal of Medicine, or The Social Science Journal
Authors: Scholars, researchers, or experts in the field; usually with lists of their affiliated institutions
Audience: Other scholars, researchers, or experts, including professionals in the field and students
Purpose: To communicate research findings and scholarly ideas or provide education
Language style: Academic style; objective and neutral; includes technical language and discipline-specific terms
Length: Lengthy
Design: Serious outlook; mostly texts, including tables, charts, or illustrations; basic structure includes abstract, keywords, introduction, literature review, method, data collection and analysis, discussion, and conclusion
Citation: Including references or bibliographical notes by following a specific style, such as APA, MLA, Chicago or others
Publishing process:

Blind reviewed or referred by other experts in the same or similar knowledge field

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Use Popular Resources?

Before you use popular resources, you should have a clear understanding what resources are required by your assignments. Some assignments specifically ask you to use popular resources like editorial essays; some ask you to use peer-reviewed articles only. Popular resources face a different audience but it doesn't mean they are not useful. Some times, popular resources can become sources of inspiration of formal researches.