Michigan State University

FW 101: Fundamentals of Fisheries and Wildlife

Popular vs Scholarly vs Gray Literature

Criteria Popular Scholarly Gray Literature

Types of Literature

Authority/ Authorship

Mostly journalists

Scholars in an academic or professional field (i.e. doctors, lawyers, educators) Government agencies or employees, NGOs, think tanks, corporate or industry groups

Intended Audience

Average adult, General Public

Scholars or professionals in a particular discipline, field of study, or trade (psychology, medicine, law, etc.) Politicians, general public, scholars in a particular discipline, practitioners in a specific industry

Content

General interest, Popular culture, General news, Entertainment

Original research (such as scientific experiments, surveys and research studies), Critical analysis of topics relative to the profession, Charts, diagrams, and/or tables showing data or experiment results are often included

Government/NGO research findings, technical reports

Level of Language

"Everyday" vocabulary/terms, Meant to be easily understood by all audiences

Specialized vocabulary, Terms and concepts specific to a particular discipline or field of study

Specialized vocabulary

References or Bibliography of Sources

Very rarely are any sources listed

A list of references or sources is provided at the end of each article

Some, but not all, reports contain a list of sources

Review Policy

Articles are reviewed by the magazine's editor or editorial staff

An editorial board, composed of experts in the field, reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted, Also known as "refereed," "peer-reviewed," "professional," or "academic"

Varies by organization

Advertisements

Almost always and in high quantities

Occasionally, but highly specialized and specific to scholarly discipline (i.e. specific laboratory equipment, medical tools and drugs)

Advertising is usually not present

Examples

Time, Newsweek, People, Entertainment Weekly,  Sports Illustrated

Journal of American Studies, College Composition and Communication, Ecology, Annual Review of Plant Biology, Nature, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Michigan DNR reports, US Geological Survey technical report, UN Food and Agriculture Organization statistics and publications

 

Michigan State University