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UMass Amherst Libraries

College Writing

English 112

Evaluating Articles

When reading articles, ask yourself the following questions to help you assess what type of publication you are reading:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What authority does the author have to write on the topic covered? Is the author a freelance writer? A practitioner? A scholar?
  • What is the author's point of view (or of the publication as a whole)?
  • Who produced the material and why are they publishing this information?
  • Does the type of information provided meet my research needs?
  • Is the information provided relevant to my topic or research question?

Types of Articles

When using article databases, you will typically locate articles that come from a wide range of types of publications. The type of information presented and how you will use it will vary according to the type of publication.

Sometimes it can be challenging to decide exactly which category a title falls into. You may find it useful to think of the various types of publications as all having a place along a continuum, from popular to scholarly.

Each of these publications has a place in doing research. For example, you might consult a popular publication to see for yourself how the popular media covers a certain topic (for example, "How is Japanese youth culture today different than 20 years ago?"). You would then use a scholarly publication to see how scholars have conducted research on this same topic and what conclusions their research has led them to.