MCOM 308: Research in Mass Communication (Ma)

Terms to Know

  • Scholarly sources: publications intended for an academic audience
  • Peer-review: a formal process in which works are evaluated by fellow experts in a field prior to publication
  • Popular sources: publications intended for a general public audience

It's important to understand the differences between popular and scholarly sources. Popular sources are written for a general popular audience in more frequently published periodicals like magazines or newspapers. Scholarly sources are typically provide in-depth, narrow analysis of a specific topic in a discipline, published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and written by scholars. Use this page to explore the differences between these types of sources.

What are some characteristics of scholarly sources?

Scholarly sources generally share the following characteristics:

To advance knowledge in a field of study, often in the form of original research or analysis

Journal articles, books, book chapters

Experts in the field, such as professors, scientists, etc.

Text-heavy, with advanced language and terminology from the discipline

Includes citations and a bibliography, works cited, or references list

What are some characteristics of popular sources?

Popular sources generally share the following characteristics:

To entertain, inform, or persuade depending on audience

Periodicals like newspaper or magazines and some websites

Written by journalists or staff writers and reviewed by an editor

Easy to understand language that's intended for the general public

Refers to sources through quotes or links, but does not list references

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