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InfoSkills voor Rechtswetenschappen

InfoSkills @ TiU

Popular, professional & scholarly sources

Intended audience 

Sources of information are created for different audiences, and that affects both their content and layout. Based on their intended audience, sources can be categorized into three main groups: 

  • Popular sources
    are intended for readers who do not have specialist knowledge of the subject.
  • Professional / trade sources
    are written by and for professionals or practitioners in a particular field or industry (e.g., medical doctors or business executives). 
© Tilburg University 
  • Scholarly / academic sources
    are written by scholars who are experts in a particular field of study and serve to keep other scholars in that field up to date on the most recent research findings and ideas.

Diffent types of sources: A comparative chart

The intended audience affects all aspects of a source, such as the difficulty of information shared, the overall appearance, the presence and the nature of advertisements, and more.

Let's take a look at three examples. Click on the images to see the underlying webpages.

  Popular  Professional Scholarly


Advertising Many ads -- typically for retail products, and sponsored content Ads -- often related to the profession or industry No (or very little) advertising
Appearance Slick design, glossy paper (print versions), with color pictures, photos, and illustrations Slick design, glossy paper (print versions), with color pictures, photos, and illustrations Plain, serious appearance; may include charts, graphs, or tables
Authors Journalists, (freelance) writers, or an editorial staff. Articles are sometimes unsigned. Professionals (incl. journalists) with experience in a particular field, trade, or industry. Articles are sometimes unsigned. Scholars (academics, researchers) who are experts in a certain field, typically working at a university
Audience A large, general public Specialists in a certain profession, trade, or industry (professionals) Scholars and students of a certain academic field
Language Language that is easy to understand Specialist language but less complicated than scholarly language Specialized, formal terminology from a certain academic field
Purpose Inform or entertain the reader, sell products, and/or promote a viewpoint Provide practical information for professionals (news, trends, products etc.), promote education and skills within the profession or industry Inform and report on research done by scholars

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License by Tilburg University Library.