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Types of Sources - What's the Difference

Learn quick and easy criteria for differentiating between common source types often used for projects and research at the university.


Newspaper articles can be in the format of print or online. The depth and number of articles vary depending on the target audience and focus of the newspaper. Online newspaper sites will include both breaking news and recent events. Print newspapers will typically be a day behind the current news cycle.

Characteristics of Newspaper Articles

A clipart line drawing image of a newspaper. It doesn't look much like a real newspaper.

What is the purpose?
Provides current local and international news and special interest topics like travel, lifestyle, book & movie reviews, etc.

Why use them?
Stay up-to-date on what is happening in your community, the country, and world

Who is it for?
Written for a general audience

Who writes the article?
Written by staff reporters and columnists

Who reviews the article?
Reviewed by editorial staff and not peer-reviwed

What type of language or writing is used?
Uses general, everyday language and written for an 11th-grade reading level

Are other sources used and cited?
Sources are often mentioned within an article but news articles do not include a bibliography or footnotes

Are images and advertising included?
Illustrations, charts, graphs, photographs and sometimes graphic art that is relevant to article; advertising aimed to a general audience

How often are issues of articles published?
Varies; most often daily