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Introduction to Social Work Research

Article Comparison


Peer reviewed articles are sometimes also called scholarly articles or refereed articles. These are articles that have been reviewed by experts and determined to be of sufficient scholarly quality. They build on the scholarly discussion of the discipline by including citations of previous works. They also contain original research.

Look to see if the article has:

  • Abstract
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Conclusion
  • Results
  • References

Example of a Peer Reviewed Article

News articles are written to provide information on current events. They usually include interviews and may even incorporate data and statistics, but they are not written by subject experts. They are written by journalists and edited by an editor or editors who also have a journalist rather than a scholarly background, thus, they are not peer reviewed. There is the expectation that news articles have been fact checked, but unfortunately, this is not always true.

News articles may appear in newspapers, magazines, or blogs. Some of the databases at UT Libraries will also include news articles and other non-scholarly articles, so be sure to pay attention to the signs that an article is a news article.

Look to see if the article has:

  • A date stamp near the byline -— ie Aug. 15, 2018
  • A location at the beginning of the article -— ie WASHINGTON
  • Quotes but no citations

Example of a News Article

An opinion article may also show up in newspapers, magazines and blogs. The purpose of an opinion piece is to give a personal analysis of current events or policies. These can be written by anyone and are generally unedited and not fact checked. They may present information, but the purpose of the article is to express an opinion about that information.

Often, opinion pieces (also called OpEds, Letters to the Editor, Editorials, or Columns) are labeled as such by the newspaper or magazine in which they are published.

Look to see if the article has:

  • Adjectives in the title and introduction
  • Inflammatory language
  • A persuasive argument
  • Second person language -- the author is talking to you

Example of an Opinion Piece

A blog might be written by an individual, a group of people, an organization, or a company. Some blogs have become news outlets, like Huffington Post, which means that often the lines are blurred between news and blogs. The main difference is the editing process is less rigorous to nonexistent for a blog post. Blog posts are typically shorter than other types of articles, but not always. Writers of blog posts do minimal to no research and seldom conduct interviews like a traditional news article.

Look to see if the article has:

  • A prominently featured date and time
  • A comments section
  • ~300-500 words in length
  • A "trending posts" section on the page somewhere

Example of a Blog Post

Liaison Librarian for Behavioral Sciences

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Grant Hardaway

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