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HSCI 2010: Is this scholarly?

Scholarly or Popular?

It's important that you use credible scholarly articles in your research. A scholarly sources is one that is:

  • Written by experts 
  • Published in a scholarly journal 
  • Contains references
  • Has designated sections

If you aren't sure if your source is scholarly, ask a librarian. Susan's email is Be sure to include the title, author, and year of your article so Susan can look it up to discuss it with you. 

Popular Sources

Picture of a popular article. Features a large picture of a model with bees on her face and a short article that has been formatted to look like an octogan (a honeycomb).

Source: Harper's Bazaar 

Target Audience
  • General Public
  • Get attention
  • Say something interesting
  • Raise awareness
  • Be visually and verbally exciting
  • Glossy, fun, exciting, or beautiful photos
  • Fun fonts and layouts
  • Easy to read and understand for anyone
  • Comes from a magazine or newspaper


Scholarly Sources

Picture of a scholarly article about using bee stings as therapy. Features before and after pictures of skin conditions, tables and charts, and simple formatting.

Source: Journal of Dermatological Treatment

Target Audience
  • Scholars (people doing research)
  • Other experts (health care professionals)
  • Convey results of study or research
  • Make clear what they found out
  • Make clear how they conducted their research
  • Make clear any limitations or issues with the research
  • Indicate what they think experts should do based on what they saw in their study
  • Plain, unexciting formatting
  • Scientific graphs and tables
  • Pictures designed to emphasize results, not to be interesting or pretty
  • A named author, with their affiliation (where they work) listed somewhere in the article
  • References - this shows the author has done their research. 
  • Clear sections (Intro, Methodology, Results, Conclusions) - these help experts find the information they're looking for quickly when they need to make a decision. 
  • The name of the journal it is in (look at the top and bottom of the page) along with the volume/issue number.