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English: About Scholarly & Popular Articles

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Anatomy of Scholarly Journal Articles

In the Sciences, researchers will be sharing the results of experiments. In the Social Sciences, researchers will be sharing the results of interviews, surveys, etc. The table below describes the components of scholarly articles in the Sciences and Social Sciences. The majority of articles in these disciplines will have the sections listed below.

Abstract Brief summary of the article, including research question, methodology and results.
Introduction Background information about the topic, leading up to why this study is being done, and may include a brief literature review.
Methods Description of how the study procedures, set-up and how data was collected.
Results/Findings Presentation of the data from the study. This section often includes tables, charts, or other visualizations of the data.
Discussion Analysis of the data and how the study relates to existing knowledge of the topic. The authors evaluate whether their results answer their research question. 
Conclusion The authors wrap up the article by discussion how their study contributes to the research on this topic and outline future  potential research questions or studies. 
References List of resources that the authors consulted when developing their research and subsequently cited in their article.

Scholarly articles in the Arts and Humanities may read more like essays, rather than reports on scientific experiments, since scholars are making logical arguments based on the evidence they have researched and analyzed. They won't necessarily have labels like those for the Sciences and Social Sciences articles.

The following sections are generally included in Arts and Humanities scholarly journal articles, although they may not be clearly marked or labeled. 

Abstract A summary of the research provided at the beginning of the article, although sometimes articles do not have an abstract. 
Introduction Provides background information for the topic being studied. The article's thesis will be found in the introduction, and may also include a brief literature review.
Discussion/Conclusion The discussion likely runs through the entire article and is the main component of the article providing analysis, criticism, etc.The conclusion wraps up the article; both sections usually are not labeled. 
Works Cited List of sources cited in the article by the author(s).

Scholarly & Popular Articles

  • Scholarly journal articles are written by experts for other experts and are often peer-reviewed, meaning that they have been reviewed by other experts before being published. Use scholarly articles when you need the results of a research study, such as an experiment, survey, focus group, film or literary analysis, etc.
  • Popular articles include those from newspapers and magazines, which focus on current events and human interest stories. They will sometimes also report about a research study, but you need to refer back to the study to get more detailed information.

Types of Articles

Periodical Type Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine
Sample Cover Cover of the 2013 issue of Etikk i praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics Cover of Nov. 2017 issue of the New Statesman
Sample Article

Introducing the New Meat: Problems and Prospects

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Why I Became a Vegan – and Why You Should, Too

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Academics and professionals

General public
Authors Experts or specialists. Unpaid. Journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers. Paid.
Editorial Review Journal editorial board and peer reviewers. Unpaid. Professional Editors. Paid.
References / Works Cited Almost always Rarely

Modeled after NCSU Libraries "Scholarly & Popular Materials" tutorial.

How To Read a Scholarly Article