CSCD 3320 Language Science

Distinguishing Between Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Sources

Your professors will ask you to use scholarly sources (i.e. scholarly articles) in your work. This video will show you how to tell if an article is scholarly.


Scholarly VS Non-Scholarly Sources

Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Sources


Scholarly Journals



Popular Magazines



  • Share results of research with other scholars
  • Broad appeal
  • Entertain
  • Sell products


  • Researchers
  • Academic faculty
  • Students 
  • General public


  • Scholars and researchers
  • Experts in the field
  • Journalist
  • Featured writers


  • Professional associations
  • University publishers
  • Scholarly commercial publishers
  • Commercial publisher


  • Basic layout
  • Usually black text on white paper
  • Tables or charts
  • Minimal subject-related advertising
  • Often printed on glossy paper
  • Colored text or headlines
  • Usually has accompanying photographs
  • Many advertisements. 

Article Acceptance

  • Peer-reviewed by experts in the field
  • Writers usually employed by magazine

Article Length

  • Often lengthy (approximately 10-30 pages) 
  • Often short (approximately 1-10 pages)

Article Language

  • College-level
  • Specialized vocabulary or jargon of the discipline 
  • Non-technical
  • Conversational/simple vocabulary 

Organization & References

  • Highly-structured
  • Include abstracts, review of literature, methodology, and citations to sources
  • Always contain a bibliography of references 
  • Loosely-structured
  • Rarely have bibliographies
  • Sometimes informally mention sources 


  • American Journal of Political Science
  • Policy Studies Review
  • Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report
  • Time 


From Cornell College's "A Guide to Evaluating Resources"