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Political Science - Bradford Campus: Identifying Article Types

This guide is designed to help students enrolled in Political Science with Dr. de Vries-Jordan with the research for their assignments and papers.

Scholarly Articles

Although it is not always appropriate to use scholarly articles, they are considered to be the gold standard for quality.

What is a scholarly article?

Often referred to as "peer-reviewed" or "academic," scholarly articles are concerned with academic study, especially research, exhibiting methods and attitudes of a scholar.

What are the general characteristics of scholarly articles?

  • a sober, serious look
  • often contain many graphs and charts but few glossy pages or colorful pictures
  • always cite their sources in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography
  • articles are written by a scholar in the field about which they are writing
  • assumes some scholarly background on the part of the reader (can be more difficult to read than other article types)
  • main purpose is to report on original research or experimentation


Substantive News Articles

What are substantive news articles?

These are often newspaper articles or articles published in high-quality, serious magazines, such as The Economist, U.S. News and World Report, National Geographic, and Scientific American.  You might also be able to find these types of articles on newspaper or magazine websites, as well as those by major news corporations like CNN, Fox News, or Huffington Post.

What are the characteristics of substantive news articles?

  • may be attractive in appearance, although some are found in newspapers
  • often heavily illustrated, generally with photographs
  • sometimes cite sources, though more often do not
  • articles written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar, or a freelance writer
  • language is geared to any educated audience (usually a little easier to read than scholarly articles)
  • main purpose is to provide information, in a general manner, to a broad audience of concerned citizens


Popular articles

What are popular articles?

These articles are usually published in popular magazines, like Sports Illustrated, Ebony, People, Shape, and Rolling Stone, and are geared towards an audience that has an interest in that topic (sports, popular culture, music, etc.)

What are the characteristics of popular articles?

  • often attractive in appearence with glossy pages and colorful pictures and graphics
  • rarely, if ever, are sources cited in these articles  (Information published is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure.)
  • articles are usually very short
  • written in a simple language and usually easy to read
  • main purpose is to entertain the reader


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