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Evaluating Sources: Popular/News Sources

Evaluating information resources for students at the UW Bothell & Cascadia College.

Substantive News or General Interest Periodicals

News and general interest periodicals sometimes cite sources, though more often do not. Articles may be written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar or a free lance writer. The language of these publications is geared to any educated audience. There is no specialty assumed, only interest and a certain level of intelligence. They are generally published by commercial enterprises or individuals, although some emanate from specific professional organizations. The main purpose of periodicals in this category is to provide information and/or analysis, in a general manner, to a broad audience of concerned citizens. 

Examples of substantive news or general interest periodicals:


Chronicle of Higher Education

New York Times

Scientific American

The Nation




Popular Periodicals

These publications rarely, if ever, cite sources. Information published in such journals is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure.

Articles are usually very short, written in simple language and are designed to meet a minimal education level. There is generally little depth to the content of these articles.

The main purpose of popular periodicals is usually to inform and/or entertain the reader.

Examples of popular periodicals:


U.S. News & World Report



USA Today

*Information on this page is adapted from: Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals – A Checklist of Criteria. Cornell University Library.