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ENG 112: College Comp II - Argumentative (WO): Scholarly or Popular


Sources of information can range from being not scholarly, to very scholarly, to somewhere in the middle.  Each source will go somewhere on this Scale of Scholarliness:


Least Scholarly               Credible/Reliable                Most Scholarly

Where on the Scale of Scholarliness does your source fall?
To make your determination, consider the six things listed below.  Click on each box to learn more.

Author Credentials Audience purpose
Publisher Editing/Review References

Your Needs

There are many sources of information -- websites, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, friends -- and which sources you use depends on your needs.

Always evaluate your sources, even if they come from the library.

For your college research needs, think about whether the source is scholarly or popular

Which is more reliable for college research?
Scholarly sources typically are considered more reliable, due to the expertise of the authors and the rigorous review and editing process.  

Popular sources can also be reliable and appropriate (perhaps for a brief speech or short paper), though you may find more opinions there.   They also do not discuss a topic in as much depth as a scholarly source would. 

Scholarly or Popular?

Scholarly articles are not always better than popular ones.  Sometimes a newspaper or magazine will serve you better than a peer-reviewed article.  To make the best use of sources, take the time to evaluate them and determine whether they are truly useful for you.