It's imperative to recognize the difference between entertainment, journalism and scholarship.
|How Can You Tell the Difference Between Types of Periodicals?|
|Author||Most articles are signed, though not all, but little information beyond a name.||Physicists, science writers, journalists. You may have to dig for credentials.||Primarily experts, often university researchers, whose credentials are usually included.|
|Audience||General public. Written for the "average" person who doesn't need in-depth knowledge of a topic. (popular)||General public with an interest in more in-depth discussion of topic. (mostly popular)||Academics: scholars, researchers, college and graduate students|
|Content||Enterntainment, informative.||Some in-depth discussion and analysis with research on current popular topics in physics.||Research, analysis, scholarship. Often includes abstract, research methods, conclusion, bibliography.|
|Length||Shorter articles providing broad overviews of topics. (popular)||Short newsy items to longer, in-depth articles.||Longer articles providing in-depth analysis of topics. (scholarly)|
|Appearance||Glossy, colorful, pictures, busy, advertisements. Unclear division between ad and editorial content.||Glossy, pictures, advertisements.||Text-heavy, black & white, graphs, charts, relevant images, few specialized advertisements.|
|Credibility||Articles are generally evaluated by staff editors rather than experts in the field. Sources are frequently uncited and anonymous.||Articles are reviewed by editors and sometimes by experts in the field.||Articles are submitted for peer-review and approval by professionals and scholars in the field. Frequently sent back for revision for evidence, currency, comprehensiveness.|
Reports of original research
Authored by credentialed experts in the scholarly field
In-depth analyses of topics
Abstract that summarizes the article. Read to determine relevance
Explanation of methodology and materials
Discussion of study and results
Literature Cited section
In-text citations or notes
Use technical vocabulary
A Research article reports on an original experiment or study that investigates a stated problem. The study is carefully controlled so that results are valid. Data is collected and analyzed.
A Literature Review summarizes and analyzes the important articles on a topic. Literature reviews are a great resource for learning about the scope of research, question, issues and theories in a field, and for identifying common findings.
A Theoretical article is an article that presents a theoretical approach to a question or field. It draws on others' research to support the theory, rather than presenting new research and data.