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COMM 2045: Public Speaking: Popular vs. Scholarly

Popular vs. Scholarly

Popular Magazines:

•   Are written for anyone to understand

•   They contain many glossy, color photographs and advertisements

•   The authors are generalists or journalists

•   The articles are usually short, cover a wide range of topics, and do not have bibliographies or references

 You may be familiar with these magazines: GQ, Glamour, People, Rolling Stone, and Time.

GQ Magazine      Glamour     People Magazine     Rolling Stone Magazine     Time

Scholarly Journals

•    Are written for scholarly readers such as researchers, professionals in a field, and students

•   They are usually made up of black & white text, and have charts, graphs, tables, and figures to support the text

•   The authors are experts in their fields

•   The articles are generally long and in-depth, containing case studies and research, and often include bibliographies or references

Some examples of scholarly journals are: Educational Research Quarterly, The Journal of the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, and Nursing Science Quarterly.  Notice that a clue that a publication might be scholarly can sometimes be found in the title— look for “Journal,” “Research,” “Review” or “Quarterly.”

ERQ     JACS     JPSP     Nursing Science Quarterly


Side-by-side, you can see the obvious differences between popular and scholarly sources!   When conducting research you want to use scholarly sources instead of popular ones.

      Popular and Scholarly Example


Watch the brief video below for a more detailed description of the differences between a popular source and a scholarly source.