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JOUR 110: Fundamentals of Journalism

Information Cycle

Information is created through a process. The type of information that you encounter within days of an event will be different than the type of information included in sources written months or years after the event has occurred. 

Video brought to you by McMaster Libraries.

Popular / Scholarly Divide

Unsure of what type of source you are looking at? Use the chart below to evaluate the form of the source. 





American Journal of Nursing, Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, American Historical Review

Times, Forbes, Psychology, Today, People, Glamour


  • Report on original research
  • Share knowledge with the scholarly community
  • Entertainment or persuasion
  • Sell products through advertisement

Cited Sources

  • Includes footnotes at the end of pages
  • An extensive bibliography at the end of the article
  • Rarely a full bibliography
  • May have some sources included as hyperlinks


  • Technical Language
  • Written for the field
  • Simpler language that the general public can understand

Article Format

  • Typically longer than a few pages
  • In sciences or social sciences, articles tend to have the following sections: Abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography
  • Can include graphs, charts, and photographs that support the research
  • Brief articles
  • Often with no formal structure
  • Many photographs and graphics


  • Plain format, usually in black and white.
  • Little or no advertising
  • Glossy format with lots of color
  • Extensive advertising aimed at the general public.

Uses in Paper

  • Specific details
  • Primary evidence
  • Additional credibility
  • Background
  • Stories
  • Personal points of view


Learn more about the peer review process that separates a popular source from a scholarly source. 

Video brought to you by Rebecca Crown Library at Dominican University.