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HRE 4880 - Policy & Research Methodology - Bergen: Evaluating Articles


For conceptualizing different types of sources into a logical framework, consider them by the level at which they analyze a given topic. 


This can be visualized as a three-tiered pyramid. At the base of the pyramid are the 'popular sources', or the information written for a general audience: newspapers, magazines, websites, blog posts, etc. They often provide an interesting window into a topic, but are not designed for in-depth analysis.

In the second tier are the 'trade publications', or the magazines written for people in a specific industry or occupation. These are glossy and visual like popular magazines, but their attention to certain issues is more focused. Trade publications are not scholarly, however.

The 'scholarly sources' occupy the third tier, and are written by experts in a field of study. These are typically journals and books from academic publishers. They are vetted for accuracy and originality, and provide the most in-depth analysis of an issue.


Scholarly Articles (aka Peer Reviewed/Refereed)

  • Author: scholars (professors and other academics/experts)
  • Audience: other scholars 
  • Where to find them: academic journals (ex. Journal of Human Relations) in library databases 
  • Most important feature: undergo a process known as "peer review" in which the article is reviewed and revised before being published, ensuring greater quality of the information being presented

Trade/Industry Articles 

  • Author: practitioners in that field 
  • Audience: other practitioners 
  • Where to find find them: trade magazines/journals in library databases 

Popular Articles

  • Author: journalists
  • Audience: general public
  • Where to find them: newspapers, magazines, news sites