⭐ This page is required for all FSEM students ⭐
Information from experts is more valuable than information from non-experts. This is one reason why professors ask you to cite scholarly sources instead of popular sources.
What's the difference?
The most common scholarly source is an article published in a journal. Journals are similar to magazines in that they are published in issues. Each issue contains articles, and new issues are published periodically. However, journals are scholarly sources, and magazines are popular sources.
Most journals are peer-reviewed, which means that the articles and information have been double-checked by other experts. The peer-review process is how journals ensure that their articles are high-quality. Magazines are not peer-reviewed. See here for more information about journals and peer review.
Use these guidelines to tell the difference between journals and magazines:
Research results, reviews of research
News and general interest articles
|Audience||Scholars, researchers, professionals||General public|
|Authors||Subject experts, faculty, scientists||Journalists, freelance writers|
|Purpose||To share research or scholarship||To inform, entertain, or elicit an emotional response|
|Review Process||Editorial board, Peer-reviewed (subject experts)||Staff editors, not subject experts|
|Language||Specialized terminology or jargon of the field||Easily understandable to most readers|
|References||Bibliographies, footnotes, endnotes||No bibliographies|
|Advertisements||Few or none||Many|
|Frequency||Quarterly or semi-annual||Weekly or monthly|
|Length||Tend to be long||Tend to be short|
Watch this video from the University of Houston Libraries for an overview of the differences between scholarly and popular sources.
Is it ever okay to cite a popular source?
Yes, in one particular way: Popular sources can provide evidence for you to analyze.
When you use a popular source in this way, you're using it as a primary source. Click here for more information about primary sources.