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COMM 2065: Television Criticism: Scholarly vs Non-Scholarly Resources

Differences Between Popular and Academic Resources

Differences Between Popular and Academic Resources

Popular (Non-Scholarly) Academic (Scholarly)
Author Journalist, layperson, or sometimes unknown Expert (scholar, professor, etc.) in field being discussed
Citations Few or no references/citations available Includes citations and/or bibliography in certain styles such as MLA, APA, and Chicago (to view citation style guidelines, click on their respective names)


Reviewed by people at the publisher

Reviewed by editorial board of outside scholars (peer review)


Written for the average reader


Written for experts, uses subject-specific jargon, shows research

Audience General public, people in stores/online Scholars and researchers in the field
Advertising Many ads, often in color Few or none; if there are any, they are for other scholarly materials
Look Eye-catching/interesting design, many pictures, color Plain, utilitarian, black and white, tables and charts
Contents Current events, general interest Specialized research topics only
Sample Titles The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Environmental Law
Sample Article

"The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing" - The Atlantic, "Iowa City to launch a year of temporary sculpture installations" - The Daily Iowan

"Highly Efficient Reprogramming to Pluripotency and Directed Differentiation of Human Cells with Synthetic Modified mRNA" - Cell Stem Cell

Activity - Which is Which?

Activity - Choosing Between Popular and Academic Articles

Below are a few articles that you can click to read. Based on what you've learned about the differences between non-scholarly and scholarly articles, which are them are non-scholarly and which are scholarly? Why do you think so?