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ENG151 SIFTing Through Information

Popular vs. Scholarly

Knowing more about your source can help you evaluate it. Is it a popular source with background information meant for the general public? Or is it a scholarly source that was written by an expert on the subject and published by a peer-reviewed journal?

Table showing the differences between popular and scholarly sources

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly Sources:

Scholarly sources can be found in library databases and sometimes on the open internet. Many scholarly sources on the open internet are behind a paywall, which restricts access to the content unless you have a subscription or want to pay a fee for individual content. If you encounter a scholarly source on the internet that asks you to pay a fee to access the article, contact the library (Links to an external site.)! We can help you try to find it in a library database. (The library pays the database subscription fees so students have access to quality, scholarly sources.)

Examples of Scholarly Sources:

Popular Sources

Popular Sources:

Popular sources comprise most of what people read on a regular basis, If your instructor allows you to use popular sources for your assignments, remember to evaluate them carefully using the SIFT Method before citing them.

Popular sources can be found in library databases as well as the open internet. Sometimes popular sources on the open internet are behind a paywall and require a paid subscription to the source to view the full text of an article. This is common with newspapers. In some cases, a source will allow you to view a certain number of articles for free before they require a paid subscription. If you encounter a popular source behind a paywall, contact the library (Links to an external site.)! Databases have both popular and scholarly articles and we may be able to find it for you. Alternatively, we can help you find a comparable source.

Examples of Popular Sources