Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

FYS 100 -- The Entrepreneurial Mindset -- Fall 2021: Thinking About Sources

Academic/Scholarly vs. Non-Academic/Popular

Characteristics

Scholarly Journal

Popular Magazine

Length

Articles are usually 10 pages or more in length; providing in-depth analysis of topics

Shorter articles (less than 10 pages), providing broader overview of topics

Written by

Author usually an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided

Author usually a journalist or a staff writer, name and credentials often not provided

Language/Written for

Written in technical language for professors, researchers, students of the field

Written at high school level for the general public

Coverage

Original research results and scholarship

Popular topics and current events

Slant

Supposed to present objective/neutral viewpoint;

May reflect the editorial bias/slant of the magazine

Frequency

Usually quarterly

Usually weekly

Format/Structure

Articles usually structured, may include: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography

Articles do not necessarily follow a specific format or structure

Special Features

Illustrations that support the text, such as, tables of statistics, graphs, diagrams, maps, or photographs

Illustrations with glossy paper or color photographs

Appearance

Serious and sober, with few colors and few or no advertisements

Glossy, with pictures and advertisements

Editors

Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field (known as refereed or peer-reviewed)

Articles are not reviewed by experts in the field, but by editors on staff

References Cited

Usually includes a bibliography and/or footnotes

Usually has no bibliography or footnotes

Examples

Ecology

Social Science Quarterly

American Political Science Review

 

Time

Newsweek

Sports Illustrated

Scientific American

Primary vs. Secondary

A primary source is original or new material on which other research is based.  A secondary source analyzes, evaluates, re-packages, summarizes or reorganizes information reported by researchers in the primary literature. Many books including textbooks, newspaper or magazine articles, encyclopedias, and scholarly review articles are examples of secondary sources.

Primary vs. Secondary

One way to think about primary vs. secondary sources is to think about time. A primary source is the original document, created at the time something occurs. A secondary source is based on the primary source. 

Novel

Article analyzing the novel

Painting Exhibition catalog analyzing the painting
Letters and diaries written by a historical figure Biography of the historical figure
Essay by a philosopher Textbook summarizing the philosopher’s ideas
Photographs of a historical event Documentary about the historical event
Government documents about a new policy Newspaper article about the new policy
Music recordings Academic book about the musical style
Results of an opinion poll Blog post interpreting the results of the poll
Empirical study Literature review that cites the study

This table created by Raimo Streefkerk, Raimo is an expert in explaining plagiarism and citing sources. He has been writing helpful articles since 2017 and is continuously improving Scribbr's Citation Generators.