MCOM 308: Research in Mass Communication (Ryan)

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:


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

Format
Journal articles, books, book chapters

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

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

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

What are some characteristics of popular sources?

Popular sources generally share the following characteristics:


Purpose
To entertain, inform, or persuade depending on audience

Format
Periodicals like newspaper or magazines and some websites

Authors
Written by journalists or staff writers and reviewed by an editor

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

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

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