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COM 375: Communication and Leadership (Roth Smith): Article Comparison Chart

Compare Article Types

Using articles to support or refute a thesis statement or hypothesis is common practice for research projects. The difference between the types of articles is significant and your topic and research focus determines the suitability of which type of source you should use. Scholarly journals, trade publications, and general interest magazines are important sources of information. The chart below highlights the difference between types of articles.

  Scholarly Journals Trade Publications General Interest Magazines Newspapers Popular Magazines Sensational Magazines
Purpose To show and discuss original research and experimentation. Gives practical information to working professionals; showcases leaders/trends. Provides topic-specific information to a general, educated audience. Provides current news & special topics e.g. travel, book reviews Provides information to a general audience, may be topic specific, e.g. sports. Carries little authority; intends to shock readers.
Why Use Them? Often required for course project and research. Lends credibility to your own ideas and hypotheses. Useful for doing an analysis of a particular industry, applying for a job, or preparing for an interview. Good for identifying potential topics for a research project as well as identifying current or hot issues. Good for identifying potential topics and getting a snapshot of issues at time articles were published. Good for identifying current cultural norms, trends, and events at the time articles were published. Only useful if research project is related to this form of publishing and writing.
Authors Written by and for scholars or researchers in a specific discipline. Specialists or practitioners in a particular field or industry. The magazine's staff, a field expert, or a freelance writer/journalist. Staff reporters and columnists. Staff columnists. Staff writers.
Sources/ Citations Always cited as footnotes, endnotes, or reference lists (bibliographies). Sources are mentioned within an article but rarely formally cited. Sources are mentioned within an article and occasionally cited formally. If used, sources are mentioned in an article but not formally cited. If used, sources are mentioned in an article but not formally cited. Rarely any mention of specific sources.
Language Uses discipline-specific terminology, jargon, & language. Uses jargon specific to to a particular field or industry. Uses formal language and some discipline-specific jargon. Uses general, everyday language. Uses general, everyday language. Inflammatory, sensational style yet very simple language.
Review Process Go through a strict review process by peers. Minimal review by editorial staff and rarely by peers. Minimal review by editorial staff. Reviewed by editorial staff. Minimal review by editorial staff. Minimal review, if any.
Audience Reader is assumed to have a similar scholarly background. Written for practicing professionals. For a broad, educated readership. For a broad audience. For a broad audience. For a broad audience.
Graphics Contains graphs, charts, and photographs specific to the research but seldom graphic art. Illustrations are charts, graphs, and photographs relevant to the article; some graphic art. Photographs, illustrations, and graphs are used to enhance the overall publication. Some images when relevant to a story. Photographs and images are used heavily. Photographs and images are used heavily, though often altered.
Publishers Most often published by a professional organization or specialty publishing company. Often published by professional organizations relevant to a particular field or industry. Generally published by commercial enterprises for profit. Published by commercial enterprises for profit. Published by commercial enterprises for profit. Published by commercial enterprises for profit.
Advertising Typically none or small amounts of selective advertising. Advertising is relevant to the profession or industry. Advertising appeals to a broad readership. Advertising appeals to a broad readership. Significant amounts and appeals to a broad audience. Advertising often reflects the style of the publication.
Examples Behavioral Neuroscience, Journal of Economics American Grocer, Aviation Week Psychology Today, Scientific American Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal Vogue, Sports Illustrated National Enquirer, Star

Instruction and Student Engagement Department, Milner Library, Illinois State University
Creative Commons License This table is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.