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Evaluating Resources: Information Formats

Know Your Sources

Click on this link to see the full infographic, "Know Your Sources" by Portland Community College Library, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Evaluating a News Article

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

It is important that you are able to tell the difference between scholarly journal articles and popular magazine articles. Use the chart below to learn more about each type so you can better determine which meets your research needs.  

Chart details popular and scholarly article differences. For popular articles, journalists or professional writers are the authors. They are written for the general public and often include color, photos, and advertisements. They tend to be short and are written so the average reader can understand them. They give broad overviews of issues that the public cares about, and they rarely cite their sources. They are recommended for general reading, finding topic ideas, and learning basics or perspectives for your topic. Scholarly articles are written by scholars, faculty members, researchers, or professionals in the field. They are written for other scholars or professionals, so they use a lot of technical jargon and academic language. They are mostly text with perhaps a few charts or graphs. They tend to be lengthy and cover narrow topics related to specific fields. They include full citations for many credible sources. Scholarly articles are recommended as sources for academic work or professional development. They also help you learn about new research being conducted in a given field of study.

Scholarly & Popular Articles by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Taxonomy of Periodicals

This is another document that will help you learn how to distinguish between popular magazines and newspapers, professional, trade and industry periodicals, and scholarly, academic and peer-reviewed articles.

Burkhardt, J.M. & MacDonald M.C. (2010). Taxonomy of periodicals. Teaching Information Literacy.

The Information Timeline