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Critical Evaluation of Resources: Scholarly / Popular Chart

Chart

SCHOLARLY

POPULAR

 

General Interest

Trade / Professional

Sensational

LENGTH

Long; 8 pages or more

Short; 6 pages or less

Short; 6 pages or less

Short

CONTENT

Original research or experimentation.

Format:

title, abstract, literature review, methodology, discussion, conclusion, bibliography

Broad focus topics:culture, politics, etc.

News, trends, developments and products for industry or profession

Celebrity gossip, unusual news stories that may lack credibility

READERSHIP or AUDIENCE

Academics

Students

Professionals

Educated audience but non-specialists

Professionals and experts in the field

Gullible audience, appeal to superstitions and prejudice

AUTHOR

Specialists and researchers in a subject area

Staff or freelance writers who may have subject expertise

Professionals in the field, and/or staff writers

Often unidentified

VOCABULARY

Technical vocabulary and specialized jargon

Average level ranging from formal to conversational

Some specialized vocabulary but fairly readable

Elementary and inflammatory, popular language

ACCOUNTABILITY

Peer reviewed

Significant references

Not peer reviewed

Minimal references

Not peer reviewed

Minimal references

Not peer reviewed

Entirely unsubstantiated

ADVERTISEMENTS

Few or none

Moderate

Moderate (tend to be trade related)

Many

APPEARANCE

Plain, black/white graphics, charts and figures

Glossy w/ color with photographs and illustrations

Glossy w/ color with photographs and illustrations

Newspaper format, color with many photographs

EXAMPLES

The Journal of the American Medical Association

 

Journal of Sport and Social Issue

The Atlantic Monthly

 

Sports Illustrated

 

Time

 

Vogue

Advertising Age

 

American Teacher

 

Publishers Weekly

 

Supermarket News

National Examiner

 

Star

 

Weekly World News

This chart has been adapted from UC Santa Cruz's web page "Distinguish Between Popular and Scholarly Periodicals".