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SPAN 303: Expresiones Artísticas

Scholarly and Popular Sources

It can be hard to determine if an article is scholarly or popular. Here are some general clues that can help:


  • It is written by an expert in the field, usually with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree(s).
  • The institution (university or museum) where the author works is listed.
  • The article includes a bibliography citing other experts.
  • The article is in a journal (usually scholarly) rather than a popular magazine.
  • The journal might be described as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed."
  • Often scholarly articles have an abstract at the beginning that explains what the article is about.
  • The article is long - popular articles tend to be 1-5 pages; scholarly articles are often over 10 pages.


  • There are a lot of glossy images in color.
  • There are advertisements.
  • There is no bibliography or other way to check the author's work, or the bibliography is very short and doesn't include works by scholars.
  • Often called a magazine rather than a journal.
  • Article is short, 1-5 pages.

If you would like more help, please contact your librarian.