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Introduction / Objectives
The Internet
Popular and Scholarly Sources
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The Basics

Popular and Scholarly Communication

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Information sources come in a variety of genres, each marked by specific conventions and target audiences. Among the broader categories of genres you will find:

Popular communication ~ informs and entertains the general public.
Newspapers like New York Times, magazines like Time and Rolling Stone, and books like Michael Jackson : music's living legend by Rosemary Wallner, distributed by Rockbottom Books are examples of popular sources.

Scholarly communication ~ disseminates research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines. Journals such as Memory & Cognition and Journal of Abnormal Psychology are examples of scholarly sources. An important sub-group of Scholarly communication are the set of journals which are peer-reviewed, sometimes referred to as refereed. This process is intended to verify the accuracy and fairness of the research before it is published. Some professors will specify the use of these types of materials.

Trade communication ~ allows practitioners in specific industries to share market and production information that improves their businesses. Variety or Elevator World are examples of trade publications.

Since popular and scholarly publications make up so much of the research world for college and university courses, we will focus on their characteristics. Magazines and journals are specific examples of popular and scholarly information sources, respectively. Click on the questions below to review the most important characteristics of these publication types.

This excellent YouTube video from Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University explains the differences really well.

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© University of Washington Information Literacy Learning 2001