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UGS 303: News Literacy: A Citizen's Guide / Reese

Popular vs. Scholarly


  • Popular newspaper and magazine articles are typically written by journalists to entertain or inform a general audience. A journalist may read an article from the scholarly literature and break it down for a non-expert audience (like climate research or medical findings)
  • Scholarly articles are written by (and for) researchers or experts in a particular field. They use specialized vocabulary, have extensive citations, and are often peer-reviewed.
  Popular (magazine, newspaper) Scholarly (journal)
Content Current events; general interest articles Research results/reports; reviews of research (review articles); book reviews 
Purpose To inform, entertain, or elicit an emotional response

To share research or scholarship with the academic and/or scientific community

Authors Journalists, staff writers, freelancers Professors, scholars, researchers in the field
Audience General public Scholars, academics, researchers in same or related field
Review Process Staff of editors Peer review: invited board made up of other scholars and researchers who review in a double blind process (reviewers do not know the author's name and author does not know who is reviewing and providing feedback)
Citations Informal; hyperlinks or named references that you can search ('according to a 2008 study in JAMA led by XX') Bibliographies, references, endnotes, footnotes organized and written according to strict citation rules of the discipline or publication.
Frequency Daily/weekly/monthly Quarterly/semi-annually
Ads Many; for products, events. Important revenue for publication. Minimal; maybe for scholarly books. Not a source of revenue for publication.
Examples The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, The Economist New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of American Medical Association, Journal of Southern History, Developmental Psychology

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