Skip to main content

Library Research Skills for Land and Food Systems

Popular writing

How can I use this?

Understanding and identifying popular writing helps you evaluate sources to determine if they're appropriate to include in your paper or project.
What is popular writing?

Scientific discoveries are reported to people through both popular and scholarly writing.

Popular publications (also called consumer publications) aim to inform readers about issues of common interest to the general public. Examples of popular writing which many of you are familiar with include publications such as the Vancouver Sun and Maclean's.

Image Credits: [1]

Image Credits:

1. ↑ Samson, H. 2012. Baby girl [online]. Available from [accessed 27 February 2017].

Characteristics of popular writing:
  • Inform
  • Entertain
  • Sell Products
  • Promote a Viewpoint
  • General Public
  • Journalists who may or may not have subject expertise
  • Simple, non-technical language
  • Many graphics, photographs, and illustrations
  • Rarely cite other sources
  • Submitted articles are only reviewed by the editor of the publication