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Syracuse University Libraries

Research Process: Getting Started: B. Popular vs. Scholarly

A guide to assist students in conducting research using the wide variety of information sources available to them.


Many instructors require the use of scholarly articles in research papers. Scholarly articles are found in peer-reviewed, or refereed, journals. Such journals have editorial boards of experts who accept or reject articles for publication. Therefore, the articles are considered high quality and represent important research in a given field.

Articles from popular magazines do not include the same level of research and are not reviewed in the same way. They often contain stories of interest to a wider audience.

In addition to popular and scholarly sources, you will find trade journals (practical information for professionals) and journals of opinion (information expressing a given viewpoint).

Periodical Comparison