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ITE 115: Intro to Computer Applications and Concepts (Online): Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

This online guide will provide you with useful resources for your ITE 115 course. If you have questions or comments, please contact

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

Where do I find articles?

Articles are published in periodicals, which is any type of publication published at a regular interval (weeks, months, etc.).  Periodical types include magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and scholarly journals.  It is important to understand what kind of periodical will have the articles you need.  More information on finding peer-reviewed articles.

Characteristics of Scholarly, Trade, & Popular Sources


Scholarly Journals 
(also called academic, 
peer-reviewed, and refereed)

Professional and 
Trade Periodicals

Popular and Special 
Interest Magazines

Purpose for 

  • Inform and report original research
  • Provide in-depth analysis of issues related to a specific discipline
  • Current trends, news, and research in a specific field 
  • Provide employment & career information
  • Entertain, inform, and persuade without providing in-depth analysis


  • Lengthy articles
  • Citations, bibliographies
  • Charts, graphs, tables
  • Some research articles
  • Statistics and forecasts
  • Sources cited
  • Articles usually fairly short
  • Sources generally not cited

Frequency of 

  • Often quarterly
  • Often monthly
  • Usually monthly or weekly


  • Scholars and professors
  • Researchers in the field
  • Author credentials included
  • Scholars
  • Staff writers
  • Freelance journalists
  • Freelance journalists
  • Editorial staff
  • Authors may not be identified


  • Generally lengthy
  • Focus on a narrow subject or piece of research
  • Varying lengths
  • Research articles
  • News from the field
  • "How to" information
  • Usually short
  • General information, little detail

Words and 
Jargon Used

  • Terminology used by scholars in the discipline
  • Language specific to those in a given profession
  • Common language and sentence structure, no jargon

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign