Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What are Scholarly and Popular Sources?
Academic scholarship tends to come from people producing knowledge within the university system, and tends to be written for an academic audience, or others in the field who are engaging with/in conversation:
- Look for the author's credentials or institutional affiliation.
- May use highly specialized language, specific to a discipline or area of study.
- Includes extensive citations, bibliographies, or footnotes, showing the author is aware of a body of scholarship relevant to the field.
- The content has been published by an academic institution or university press.
- The author's work is often "peer reviewed" or has gone through a rigorous editorial process by fellow experts in the field, which can take a long time.
Other Types of Scholarship
Scholarship and knowledge production also takes place outside of the academy. This may take various forms for varying purposes and audiences:
- Mission driven work of grassroots activist or advocacy groups: policy reports, recommendations for curriculum design.
- Personal narratives: memoirs, first-person documentaries, other forms of storytelling.
- Opinion, or think pieces in popular media platforms.
- Social media: crowd sourced data collection, Twitter.
- Journalism: podcasts, short form documentary.
- Traditional, indigenous, and local knowledge.
- Artistic expression: visual art, music, film.
Some sources may take a more artistic, obviously subjective approach, or use personal experiences to get points across to an audience, with the intent of evoking an emotional response. You may find overlap between academic and non-academic scholarship and instances of creators working both in and outside of the academy.