|News/Popular Article||Academic Article|
|Content/Intent||summary of event, idea, research done by others to entertain and/or inform, may present "the truth" without pointing out bias or opposing side; often a general overview of a topic||detailed account of original research with the intent of sharing with other scholars and contribute to "scholarly conversation" and invites scrutiny/debate; highly specific topic|
|Author||sometimes named in byline, sometimes not||clearly stated authors and their professional credentials and institutional affiliation|
|Audience||general public||scholars, researchers, students|
|Layout/Language||everyday language, informal organization; often attractive, interesting photographs, fonts, layouts; intended to attract readers||uses specialized terminology/jargon of field of study; formal layout with abstract at the top, followed by introduction, literature review, methods, analysis, discussion, conclusion and references|
|References||often not included, often vague, can be hard to find||exact references always included, cited throughout as supporting evidence to research conducted and situate the research in the greater field|
|Fact-checking/review||reviewed by news editors who may not have specialized knowledge of subject (may be checked by independent fact checkers but this rarely influences content)||usually reviewed by experts in the field through a process called "peer review" that calls out questionable methodology, conclusions or faulty research design|
|Examples||New York Times, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, U.S. News and World Report, Business Week, People, Time Magazine||Nature, Journalism and Mass Media Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Marketing|
Primary Sources are the "raw materials of history" and are the original items/materials/sources upon which other research is based. They provide insight to researchers about what actually happened during a particular event, research project, or time period. Published materials can be viewed as primary resources if they come from a time period that is being researched, and were written or produced by someone with firsthand experience of the event. In science, primary sources present original thinking, report on discoveries, or share new information.
Examples of primary sources include:
Secondary sources are materials that describe, summarize, interpret, analyze, critique, evaluate or otherwise repackage primary sources. One step removed from the subject, secondary sources are the result of someone's contemplation and synthesis. Like primary sources, secondary materials can be written or non-written (sound, pictures, movies, etc.).
Examples of secondary sources include:
Helpful links for interacting with academic articles:
What is an academic research article?
What is Peer Review?
Scholarly peer review (or "refereeing") is a process of having experts in a field evaluate a research paper or book for quality prior to publication. The opinion of the experts (so the "peers" of the author of the paper or book) helps the editors of an academic journal or publisher decide if the work is good enough (or original enough, done with the best methodology, etc.) to publish. The reviewers also usually give recommendations on how the author can improve their work. Peer review is meant to assure that quality research is published.
Here is a summary of the process:
How To Find Peer Reviewed Resources