|Criteria||Scholarly Article||Popular Article|
Authors are scholars and experts in the field. Authors are always named, and their institutional affiliation is given.
|Authors are staff writers or journalists.|
Publishers may be university presses or professional associations. Articles may be edited through the peer-review process by scholars in the same field of study.
|Publishers are corporations, working for profit.|
Articles are longer with a focus on research projects, methodology and theory. Language is more formal, technical, using discipline specific terminology.
Articles may be shorter with a general focus on the topic and written for news or entertainment value.
Sources are cited and a bibliography or footnotes provided to document the research.
|Sources are not usually cited.|
Article may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and a bibliography.
|Specific format is not followed.|
Audience consists of academics, scholars, researchers, and professionals.
|Audience is the general public.|
The C. A. R. S. Checklist is another way to evaluate information sources. It asks you to look for Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, and Support before deciding to use or trust an information source.
Source: Robert Harris, Evaluating Internet Research Sources, https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm.
There's actually more to this than ads or no ads/references or no references. There are various sorts of "peer review." Also some folks would decide whether an article is valuable or not simply based on the reputation of the journal where it is published. One controversial measure of that is journal "impact factor." Here are some links in case you would like to explore these issues further.