Scholarly materials are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars using scholarly or technical language, include full citations for sources. Scholarly items are often refereed or peer reviewed. Book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals.
Popular materials are often written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience using language easily understood by general readers. Popular items rarely give full citations for sources, are written for the general public, and tend to be shorter than scholarly materials.
Primary vs. Secondary
A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include speeches, letters, interviews, research, poetry, drama, music or art.
A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include textbooks, journal articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries or encyclopedias.