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English & Literature: Popular v. Scholarly Articles

Robeson Community College Library's guide to English and literature resources

Academic Research

The most reliable articles for (most) academic research are peer-reviewed, scholarly articles.

Scholarly Articles, Peer-Reviewed (Print or Digital)

Purpose: sharing of research, experiments, and studies
Intended Audience: researchers, academic students, faculty members, and/or college audiences
Publishing: professional associations, university publishing houses or scholarly commercial publishers
Standards: contents are selectively published and information is reviewed by scholars and experts in the field
Language Use: specialized vocabulary; jargon of the field
Article Length: lengthy; average range from 10-40 pages

black text, white paper

Access: Use RCC Library OneSearch bar (homepage) or A-Z Databases List (online) to access article databases.


Image result for journal of american history Image result for american journal of nursing Image result for american journal of respiratory and critical care medicine

Popular Articles (Print or Digital)

Purpose: entertainment, information in a broad sense
Intended Audience: general public audience
Publishing: commercial publishing companies
Standards: may be factual but not scholarly; magazines may publish opinion pieces
Language Use: non-technical; conversational
Length: usually short, 1- 8 pages
Appearance: glossy paper; color photographs; colored, stylized text
Access: Flipster (online) and RCC Library Print Magazine Collection (first floor)

Examples from the RCC Library:

   Image result for southern living Image result for essence magazine  Image result for popular mechanics

Credibility of Sources Hierarchy | Charleston Southern University Library

Image result for scholarly versus popular sources infographic

Tutorial | Anatomy of a Scholarly Article | NCSU Libraries

Interactive PDF | Anatomy of a Scholarly Article | NCSU Libraries