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BIO 218: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Video Explaining the Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Articles

From the Betty Sue Jessup Library, Piedmont Virginia Community College

What are scholarly articles?

REMINDER: For your assignment, you must use journal articles that are scholarly!


Characteristics of a Scholarly Journal Article

  • Author is an expert in the field. The author's credentials in the field are established, and they are likely affiliated with a scholarly institution and hold an appropriate degree in their field.
  • There is a lengthy bibliography at the end of the article.
  • Based on original research, or new applications of others' research.
  • Written for a scholarly audience in that field of study (difficult for the general public to read)


Scholarly Article Example

"Factors explaining alien plant invasion success in a tropical ecosystem"

What are popular articles?

REMINDER: For your assignment, you want to avoid popular articles.


Characteristics of a Popular Article

  • Usually appear in magazines, newspapers or non-scholarly journals (with lots of glossy, shiny pictures, and advertisements).
  • Typically written by journalists (not by experts in the field).
  • Written for a popular audience, easy to read and understand.
  • Might summarize or present research findings for the public, but the author is not doing original research in a lab.
  • Typically do not include a bibliography.


Popular Article Example

"Gecko Tail Has a Mind of Its Own"

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