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BUS 105: Exploring Business

Popular Vs Scholarly

Unsure of what type of source you are looking at? Watch the video to learn what a peer-reviewed article is and then use the chart below to evaluate the source. 



Examples: American Journal of Nursing, Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature


Examples: Time, Forbes, Psychology Today, People, Glamour


Examples: Adage, Harvard Business Review, Accounting Today


  • Report on original research
  • Share knowledge with the scholarly community
  • To entertain or persuade
  • To sell products through advertisement
  • Written for people working in the industry
  • news, stats, trends

Cited Sources

  • Includes footnotes at the end of pages or extensive bibliography at the end of the article
  • Rarely a full bibliography
  • May have a source or two included
  • Some will cite sources, some will not. 
  • Most will not have a full bibliography


  • Authors will be listed
  • Credentials (letters at the end of their name)
  • They will be scholars in the field that they are discussing in the article
  • Freelance writers or staff writers
  • Often not listed in the article


  • Staff editors
  • Journalists
  • Practitioners
  • Scholars
  • Professional Organizations


  • Technical language
  • Written for the field
  • Simpler language that the general public can understand
  • Simple language but heavy use of industry jargon. 

Article Format

  • Typically longer than a few pages
  • In sciences or social sciences, articles tend to have the following sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusions, and bibliography
  • Can include graphs, charts, and photographs that support the research
  • Brief articles
  • Often with no formal structure
  • Many photographs and graphics
  • Tend to be shorter
  • May feature graphs, photographs, and charts. 


  • Plain format, usually in black and white
  • Little or no advertising
  • Glossy format with lots of colors
  • Extensive advertising aimed at the general public
  • Appearance largely depends on the industry and source. 
  • Could be glossy or plain format. 

Primary vs Secondary vs Tertiary

  Primary  Secondary Tertiary 
Definition Original documents created or experienced concurrently with the event being researched Works that analyze, assess, or interpret a historical event, an era, or a phenomenon. Generally uses Primary sources Sources that identify, locate, and synthesize primary AND secondary sources
Characteristics First-hand observations, contemporary accounts of the event, the viewpoint of the time Interpretation of information, usually written well after an event. Offers reviews or critiques Reference works, collections of lists of primary and secondary sources, finding tools for sources
Examples Interviews, news footage, data sets, original research, speeches, diaries, letters, creative works, photographs Research studies, literary criticism, book reviews, biographies Encyclopedias, bibliographies, dictionaries, manuals, fact books, textbooks
Where to Find Archives, databases, online collections, government websites Databases, websites, books Reference collection, reference databases, how-to guides

These types of sources will look slightly different depending on Discipline: 


Primary & Secondary Source Examples