|Purpose/Intent||To inform, entertain, or persuade. often published or produced by commercial organizations.||To inform, report, or make available original research, promote scholarly communication, or advance knowledge. Could be primary or secondary.||To provide news, trends, or practical information or examine problems or concerns in a particular field, trade, or industry.||To disseminate research quickly or respond to a public issue.|
|Audience||General public.||Scholars, researchers, and students of specific discipline or field.||Practitioners of a particular field, trade, or industry.||Professionals and researchers in the same field or industry and/or policy makers.|
|Creator||Professional writers, journalists, freelance writers, or other kinds of creators.||Scholars or researchers with extensive credentials and experience in the specific discipline or field and usually associated with a university or other organization.||Professionals or freelance writers or creators with experience in a particular field, trade, or industry.||Individual scholars, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and institutions, businesses, and think tanks but not through traditional publishers.|
|Language/Tone||Less formal, non-technical, and maybe even entertaining language.||Specialized terminology or jargon from the specific discipline or field.||Specialized terminology or jargon used in the field or industry.||Specialized terminology or jargon used in the field or industry.|
|References||Sources often attributed, but are not cited in academic style.||Sources always cited.||Sources occasionally, but not usually cited. This depends on the publication.||Sources are typically, but not always cited.|
|Timeliness||Can be published days, hours, or even minutes after current events. Popular magazine articles may appear several weeks later.||Published months or years after current events.||Published weeks or months after current events.||Timeliness varies.|
|Accountability||Content may be evaluated by professional editors, but not by experts in the field.||Usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a subject expert or board of subject experts (peer review); published or produced by a scholarly organization or society (university, association, commercial enterprise, etc.).||Content may be evaluated by experts in the field; often published or produced by a trade association.||Expert review differs for different kinds of grey literature. Many may not be reviewed at all.|
Adapted from "Popular, Scholarly, Trade, and Grey Literature Sources" by The Teaching and Learning Team, George Mason University, licensed under CC BY 4.0.