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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]


Characteristics of popular writing


  • Inform
  • Entertain
  • Sell products
  • Promote a viepoint



  • General public


  • Journalists who may or may not have subject expertise


  • Simple, non-technical language
  • Many graphics, photographs, and illustrations
  • Rarely cites other sources
  • Submitted articles are only reviewed by the editor of the publication


Examples:  Newspapers

Examples: Magazines

Image credits

Microsoft. 2012. Microsoft images: MP900178526 [online]. Available from [accessed 22 May 2012].