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Writing 105 (Downey): Types of Popular Articles

Grammar & Style

Popular Articles

Popular articles (published in print and/or online newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and other sources) are not reviewed by experts but may be extensively researched and/or fact-checked, depending on the publication. Popular articles can be on serious topics. They are written for a general audience but can range in seriousness.

Here is a list of different types of popular articles.

  • trade article
    • contains practical information focused on news, trends, or practices aimed at professionals in a specific field or industry experts in a given field. While this type of article is written a bit more formally and may contain some citations, it is still considered a popular article.
  • general interest article
    • Some popular sources may focus on serious topics written by either experts or journalists. Articles from these print and online magazine and newspaper sources are called popular because they are aimed at the general population. These tend to be shorter articles which don't include bibliographies. This doesn't make them "bad," but should be used sparingly in evidence-based research papers. They may be very helpful to explore topics.
  • sensational article
    • These type of articles are those found in print and online propaganda and gossip magazines and newspapers. They are aimed at gullible audiences and appeal to superstitions and prejudice, often using inflammatory language.

Evaluating Popular Articles

It can be hard to evaluate online popular sources, such as magazine and newspaper content. Remember, evaluation also requires that you think about how you are going to use a source. It all depends on the purpose for using evidence. With that it mind, you should routinely ask yourself:

  • What is the author's or editor's purpose in writing the article? To entertain, sell, persuade, or inform? Newspapers have both news articles and opinion pieces called editorials.
  • Is there loaded language used in the article to create a strong reaction?
  • Is the information accurate? You will need to verify the information from multiple sources to make sure things add up.
  • Is the article biased (show favoritism to a certain viewpoint)? Keep in mind, an article can be both accurate and biased.
  • Is the publication the article is from biased (show favoritism to a certain viewpoint)? Keep in mind, a publication can be both accurate and biased.

Learn more with the Library's Be Aware: Elevate Your News Evaluation exhibit.