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ENGL 1200: Writing II (Gray): Evaluating Sources

R.A.D.A.R.

Types of Articles

When we think of "finding an article" we often think of newspapers or magazines. But there are several kinds of articles your assignments might require:

News - From newspapers reporting daily events (New York Times)

Magazine - Often called "popular" articles, these are general or for a specific interest (Time, Discover)

Trade - By and for specific industries (Advertising Age)

Scholarly - Reporting research, written by and for scholars and researchers (American Journal of Psychology)

See the chart below for more information on how to tell if an article is scholarly or popular.

Scholarly vs. Popular

Scholarly Articles Popular Articles
Authorship Scholars/experts in a field. Authors are always named and their institutional affiliation is given. Staff writers or journalists.
Publisher University presses, professional associations, research organizations. For profit corporations.
Review Peer review process by other experts in the field of study. Fact-checker and/or editor.
Audience Researchers, scholars, other experts. General public.
Content/Length Usually longer, focusing on a research study, or a review of research literature in a field. Often shorter, with a more general focus.
Language Technical, discipline specific terminology. Written for a general reader with easier vocabulary.
Sources Cited in a bibliography adhering to a specific citation style (MLA, APA, etc.) Usually not cited, and when they are, are not generally standardized.
Structure Usually includes: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and bibliography. Specific formats are not followed.
Advertising Some. Copious.

RADAR Test

We are surrounded by easily accessible information but not all information is created equal. It's extremely important to be aware of where you get your information - to make sure that information is factual, relevant, and written by someone you can trust. The RADAR test is one of many methods you can use to evaluate information.

Domain Names

The domain name of a site can give you a good idea of what content you might find there:

  • .com - "Commercial" A for-profit site selling something (sometimes information).
  • .net - "Network" Usually similar to .com
  • .org - "Organization" A non-profit, but likely has an agenda/opinion.
  • .edu - "Education" An educational institution, college, or university.
  • .gov - "Government" Sponsored by the US government.