Library Activities: Popular vs. Scholarly Resources

Activity: Identify an article from a popular publication (e.g., The New York Times, Newsweek, Science News) that reports on an issue being addressed in your class, then track down the scholarly source of the information and answer the following questions: is the information in the popular article accurate? Why would you rely on one of the articles instead of the other? What is the intended audience of each article?

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to determine the differences between popular and scholarly resources.

Activity: Identify opposing viewpoints on a controversial issue. Compare popular and scholarly work that supports each opposing viewpoint. How do the scholarly and popular works differ? What sort of argument and evidence does each type of work offer? Is it clear which works are popular and which are scholarly?

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to explain the difference between a popular and a scholarly resource.

Activity: Find an article from a popular science (or health) publication (NYT science section; Scientific American). Find the primary research article that the popular article was based on. Students discuss the differences between the sources; i.e. format, audience, evidence. Does the information presented or conclusions drawn differ between the two sources?

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to evaluate the differences in content between popular and scholarly resources.