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Assignment | Controversial Topic Research Essay (Pentecost): Research

ENGL 1302 | Prof. R. Pentecost (Spring 2022)

Academic: click to go to recommended sources page

Characteristics of Scholarly Articles:

  • Expert authors formally trained & educated in their specific discipline
  • Extensive citations in a works cited list as well as in-text citations
  • They closely discuss a narrow, specific topic rather than providing a general introduction or overview.
  • Formally published by educational or professional institutions

More superficially, articles themselves tend to be lengthy and they have long, descriptive titles (no clickbait!). Their purpose is to inform an already-interested professional audience, therefore, they don't have flashy layouts or graphics.

Does not include:

  • Reviews (i.e. book reviews)
  • "Front Matter," "Back Matter"


Non-academic: click to go to recommended sources page

Characteristics of Popular, Non-academic Articles:

  • Authors often aren't degreed or trained in the specific field they're writing on. (Think of journalists covering various news stories.)
  • No formal citations. You might see narrative citations referring to interviews or a list of places to "learn more."
  • These are usually produced for a more general audience, and will provide more background explanation in simpler language.
  • Published by a variety of entities of varying reputations.

Source titles might be descriptive, or they might be vague and enticing (or even misleading!). These sources often drop in stock art for decoration and may have ads on the page.