It can be very tricky to evaluate sources to determine which ones are scholarly and which ones are popular. When trying to determine whether a source is scholarly or popular, here are some general rules of thumb to keep in mind.
|Audience||Scholars, professors, graduate students||General public; people without a college degree in the subject|
|Language||Heavy use of discipline specific language (jargon)||Written for the general public or those interested in the field; avoids jargon|
|Author||Author has documented credentials in the field (e.g. institutional affiliation, degrees, etc.)||Authors are typically journalists; they may not have discipline-specific academic qualifications for writing the article|
|Bibliography||Yes||No or limited bibliography|
|Research||Articles are based on original research or a new interpretation of earlier research. May have a methodology that explains how and what they did||Research is usually limited to background fact-finding to support the article rather than original research|
|Publisher (Books)||University presses (e.g. Oxford University Press, Duke University Press, etc.) or trade academic presses (e.g. Routledge, De Gruyter)||Trade presses (Simon and Schuster, Viking, etc.), vanity presses, self-publishing|
|Periodical Examples||Journal of Biological Chemistry; History and Theory; Educational Psychology||Psychology Today; Scientific American; Time|