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Library Instruction: Schedule a Library Class: Scholarly v. Popular Articles

This guide helps faculty schedule library instruction, outlines our instruction philosophy, links to our learning outcomes tasks and results, and provides basic instruction program statistics.

Do your students know?

If you're requesting that your students locate and evaluate "scholarly" resources such as journal articles, do your students know the difference between what is scholarly or popular? Direct them to this handy chart to help them identify scholarly sources.

Scholarly v. Popular Articles

CHARACTERISTICS
SCHOLARLY
POPULAR
How can I tell the difference?
Length Longer articles, providing
in-depth analysis of topics
Shorter articles, providing
broader overviews of topics
Authorship Author usually an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided Author usually a staff writer or a journalist, name and credentials may be provided
Language/Audience Written in the jargon of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students) Written in non-technical language
for anyone to understand
Format/Structure Articles usually more structured,
may include these sections: 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, maps, or photographs Illustrations with glossy or color photographs, usually for advertising purposes
Editors Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field
(refereed)
Articles are not evaluated by experts in the field, but by editors on staff
Credits A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text
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