[OU1]  Student A

ENG 101 Section 124

Ms. Vilhotti

January 29, 2008

Project A


Contrasting Popular and Scholarly Articles[OU2] 


"The work of the university is to increase our knowledge, to search for truth, and to pass on both knowledge and the search to successive generations"(3). [OU3] This quote from Engaging Inquiry helps to explain the purpose of a university, but this principle can be applied to much more than a college[OU4] . The pursuit of knowledge drives societies all over the world.  However, what good is knowledge if it cannot be shared with other people?  A tremendous amount of information is shared with other people every second of every day.  This information is presented in many ways: Internet, email, newspapers, journals, books, and articles. The majority of written information can be divided into two major groups, popular and academic. Academic [OU5] sources such as Doubly Bound: The Impact of Gender and Race on the Politics of Black Women [OU6] by Claudine Gay and Katherine Tate are written on a much higher level that requires the reader to have a basic understanding of the topic being discussed. Popular sources such as Women Are Never Front-Runners by Gloria Steinem are[OU7]  written in a way so that a broad audience can comprehend them[OU8] .  Popular and academic writing vary in a multitude of ways. The intended audiences of both sources are unique and this affects the way they are written. The structure, language, and references made by each source are unique to their own style of writing.   [OU9] 


            The language used in an article is a good indicator of determining whether the article is classified as academic or popular. Doubly Bound is written with a very sophisticated language that utilizes an advanced vocabulary. According to the Linton [OU10] article, "Writing in the natural and social sciences is an example of the latter, [OU11] where diction and syntax work together to keep the reader's attention on the phenomenon under study, not the language used to describe it"(73).  This observation made by Linton is evident in Doubly Bound as the article does not use excessive figurative language [OU12] but uses only the language necessary to accurately portray the message of the article.


            The language used in Front-Runners is typical of a literary essay[OU13] . The author uses language as a medium [OU14] for expressing her ideas. The article is not divided into sections like an empirical report but flows from topic to topic very smoothly. The author uses a vocabulary and writing style that for most people is easy to read and comprehend. The opinion of the author is displayed through her writing. For example, Steinem writes, "Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House[OU15] "(8).   This is just one of many times that she expresses her opinion in the article. Through her writing, Steinem conveys her personal view and attempts to persuade the reader. Unlike a scholarly article, a popular article [OU16] can express the personal view of the author and not have statistical or scientific evidence to back up their claims.


            The academic source, Doubly Bound is loaded with references to past studies and historical events.  [OU17] A good portion of these, including Hill's allegation of sexual harassment in 1991 and the OJ Simpson trial referenced in the opening of the article, are cited. Citation is very important in academic articles[OU18] . According to the Linton article, "…writers use citation and discussion of particular sources as a means to establish the focus and stance of the present text"(69).  The references made by the authors of Doubly Bound in the opening of the article do just as the Linton article described.  Hill's allegations and Simpson's trial both forced black women to choose between their race and gender in deciding whether the defendants of each trial were guilty or innocent.  Referencing can also be demonstrated by the use of quotations. The article opens with two quotations from other authors that pertain to the subject being discussed.  References are a huge[OU19]  portion of empirical reports such as this scholarly article. Each empirical report builds on what has previously been discovered so that information must be referenced and cited. Readers are expected to have a basic understanding of the subject [OU20] because "selecting references [OU21] effectively and incorporating them in the right places is more important than discussing them"(Linton 69).  This technique allows the author to demonstrate their [OU22] knowledge of the subject and gain credibility.


            A popular source does not reference material in the same manner as a scholarly article. Statistical data and previous studies are not normally incorporated into a popular article. However, authors of popular work still do make references. In Front-Runners, Steinem incorporates current political events and people into her article.  This tactic allows the reader to better relate to the author and it makes the article more personable.  This is very important because in her popular article, Steinem attempts to persuade her audience and this is much more easily achieved if the reader can relate to the article and the author.  Also, words such as "right", "only", and "masculine" are quoted in a sarcastic manner to place emphasis on them.  [OU23] Despite referencing material differently, both forms of writing each reference other material and improve the effectiveness of their article by doing so. 


            Structure is a key element in writing. Every article written follows some form of structure, even if it is not one that is accepted by its audience[OU24] . According to the Linton article, "In empirical reports, it is conventional for detailed presentation of data to precede discussion of the conclusion to be drawn from them"(67).  This is very evident in Doubly Bound as there are six tables of collected statistical data that are presented and discussed throughout the article.[OU25]   Many empirical reports also are opened with quotations and abstracts.  Doubly Bound is opened with both an abstract and a quotation. The structure of the title is also that of an empirical report as it is very direct and allows the reader to know exactly what the main point of the article is. Transitions throughout the paper are acknowledged by sub headings that are bold and centered. The references and acknowledgements follow the conclusion. The convention of structure heavily influences scholarly articles and this is very evident in the article Doubly Bound.


            The structure of popular articles can vary a lot more than that of a scholarly article. Many literary essays are opened with an anecdote or some form of an attention grabber. Front Runners is opened by a detailed description of a woman; information [OU26] about her occupation, family, and achievements is presented. Following this a series of questions is asked concerning the readers' opinion on whether or not the reader feels that the described woman is capable of holding a powerful political office. This attention grabber implemented by Steinem is very effective in gaining the interest of her reader. The thesis statement is given at the end of the introduction, which is common for similar articles. The conclusion of the article includes a summary of the ideas presented and the opinion of the author.


Popular and academic sources are written in entirely different ways. Each source is written for a different intended audience.  Scholarly articles focus on delivering facts to the reader in a sophisticated and scientific manner. Popular articles use language to gain the interest of their audience and present the authors opinion.  Despite having different styles of language, reference, and structure, academic and popular writing each are similar in the fact that they deliver their message to their intended audiences equally well.[OU27] 


Works Cited[OU28] 




Gay, Claudine, and Katherine Tate. "Doubly Bound: The Impact of Gender and Race on the Politics of Black Women." Political Psychology 19.1 (1998): 169-183.


Linton, Patricia, Robert Madigan, and Susan Johnson. "Introducing Students to Disciplinary Genres: The Role of the General Composition Course." 66-77.


Steinem, Gloria. "Women Are Never Front-runners." The New York Times 8 Jan. 2008. Rpt. In.




 [OU2]How could you have jazzed-up (without being cute of course) this title?

 [OU3]But where is this quote from?  MLA asks for a last name too—also, when beginning with a quote, there is a special way to format it.  Call me over to find out when we work on this in class.

 [OU4]Terrific lead; way I use this in class to explain the “lead” concept?

 [OU5]Good move from general to specific concepts—how could you have made the move even more concise & to-the-point?

 [OU6]Look up in MLA style: “ “ marks vs. underline/italics & report back in your error analysis log

 [OU7]Mention also what type of publications in which each article is found – it matters!

 [OU8]Great—major distinction is established (sorta) quickly

 [OU9]Here’s where your thesis statement stumbles—take a look at the SCAP handout & revise.  Tell me, for instance, EXACTLY how each differ & this should really be the bulk of your intro.

 [OU10]Have you introduced the Linton article to your reader?  Also, the first time you mention a text, list it’s title & all authors.

 [OU11]The latter what?  Feel free to stick in the referent noun in brackets [,] to clarify something like this for your reader--

 [OU12]Great connection of Linton quote to your own observation & analysis.  I appreciate your skills of application.

 [OU13]I disagree with the term here—more in keeping with how an op-ed piece works.  Look up the features of an op-ed piece on the web & revise this sentence.

 [OU14]I would say product, actually—reread the Linton section on this—Steinem’s wording is quite provocative—the words she chooses actually make points themselves—she uses diction to make points & therefore her language is the product.

 [OU15]See? Colorful language, cadence—lang as product! J

 [OU16]Qualify here—specifically, an op-ed piece has more liberty to not quote facts, etc.  & also add hedge terms such as “typically” or “comparatively”—b/c think: many NY Times articles are loaded with facts & figures—they’re just presented differently & with a slightly less burden of proof than in an ac article; if you can explain this difference—A-level.

 [OU17]Your ts is now just stating a fact—make a point; make it SAPy.  revise

 [OU18]Excellent!  Onc of the few student to use such keen detail!


 [OU20]outstanding & detailed analysis here.

 [OU21]Excellent way to embed your quote & make your point at the same time—sign of sophistication.

 [OU22]Pron-antecedent: look up in Grammar Links & revise

 [OU23]Keen observations & detail


 [OU25]again, excellent observation & detail

 [OU26]Note: I began skimming at this point—just to teach you the lesson of the importance of a page max as well as a page min—there was a reason I only wanted 4 & under—it forces the student to get to the point in the most relevant way the quickes—it’s hard to do & was part of the challenge.

 [OU27]This conclusion technically works, but is certainly not in keeping with the terrific style you established in the beginning of your essay.  Read the handout on conclusions in the UNC writing lab (go to links on the website) & try to revise/add to your conclusion!

 [OU28]Break – new page for works cited