Academic vs. Non-Academic: What's the Difference?

The majority of your research will require academic and scholarly articles. Many students struggle with trying to determine what an academic source, or article, is.

Academic articles are written by professionals in a given field. They are edited by the author's peers and often take years to publish. Their language is formal and will contain words and terms typical to the field. The author's name will be present, as will their credentials. There will be a list of references that indicate where the author obtained the information they are using in the article.

Academic articles can be found in periodicals similar to the Journal of Psychology, Childhood Education, or The American Journal of Public Health.

The following link is an example of an academic article. Experimental educational networking on open research issues; Studying PSS applicability and development in emerging contexts.

This article is considered academic because the language is very formal and genre-specific, there are two authors and their credentials are listed (these are found at the end of the article), and most importantly there is a list of references.

Non-academic articles are written for the mass public. They are published quickly and can be written by anyone. Their language is informal, and casual and may contain slang. The author may not be provided and will not have any credentials listed. There will be no reference list. Non-academic articles can be found in periodicals similar to Time, Newsweek, or Rolling Stone.

As a general rule religious texts and newspapers are not considered academic sources. Do not use Wikipedia as an academic source. This website can be altered by anyone so any information found within its pages cannot be considered credible or academic.

The following link is an example of a non-academic article. Marketing News's Writers Rules

This article is non-academic because the language is very casual and includes some examples of slang, there is an author, but they chose to write anonymously so there are no credentials provided for the author, and no references were included to show where the author obtained their information.