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English 301 - Spring, 2024 - Prof. Coleman

How does this relate to what you are learning in class?

Writing for your audience

Writing for Your Audience

In this case, the readers of a magazine

The Publication Cycle

Types of Journals: Overview

What kind of journal is your article published in?

  • Language (formal, informal, argot)
  • Intended audience
  • Purpose of article
  • Author credentials/expertise
  • Journal publisher/sponsoring organization 
  • Visual cues - what kind of advertising is there (if any)? What kind of photos, charts, and other graphics?
  • What else...?



Peer Review in Three Minutes

  • Scholarly research/discovery - intended to educate

  • topic/point of paper is significant, unique

  • citations to referenced works

  • Formal academic prose and style

  • Often (especially in social sciences and sciences) use the IRAD/IMRAD format (sorry, I don't have a source for this to cite properly :-(

  • Author has academic subject matter expertise

  • Peer review - has passed critique from other subject matter experts

  • Can be used for analysis, frameworks, explanations

  • Generally considered the gold standard in academia, but consider Retraction Watch


  • Intended for people who work in a profession or trade.
  • Vocational perspective
  • May use professional lingo
  • Advertisements reflect interests of the trade or profession
  • May distill academic articles relevant to their readers
  • Examples/evidence from that vocational perspective

Opinion Magazines [ideas]

  • All about opinions and perspectives from a common ideology (economic, social, political)
  • Meant to persuade or bolster people with similar viewpoints
  • Often include soc/pol/econ/cultural criticism and commentary 
  • Contemporary view, often policy orientation, examples, perspectives/ arguments, straw men?
  • Language is generally standard but may assume expertise/in-group status

Policy Journals [ideas]

  • Intended for people who make policy (national, international, or thematic, i.e. education), or are interested in policy
  • Generally, publish articles from a broad range of perspectives/ideologies
  • Want to introduce ideas into the world, get them talked about, and influence policy
  • Article authors may be politicians, government officials, academics, think tankers, etc.
  • Writing is usually formal, may sometimes include citations
  • Example - the hugely influential article The Clash of Civilizations? by Samuel P. Huntington in Foreign Affairs in 1993, and Joseph Nye's article on Soft Power in Foreign Policy in 1990.


  • Mass market publications 
  • many different subjects - can be targeted to general topics, interests and hobbies, and more.
  • Contemporary view
  • Authors may or may not have academic expertise, but generally many have experience/expertise in area(s) in which they write
  • Writing is standard English
  • Can be used for evidence/ examples...


  • Gossip and celebrities  ;-)
  • Contemporary view
  • Writing is more casual
  • Evidence/ examples...


  • “ snapshot in time” 
  • contemporary view
  • evidence/examples...

Types of Journals (activity)

This will be a sorting activity. For each publication you will select a category using Mentimeter ( The code is 7281 5829. It's best to open it in a separate window (I will demo snapping/splitting your screen in Windows (it's really easy now -just right click and open the PE link in a second tab, then look for the icon at the top right of your browser screen to split the screen and select the PE tab for the second side); look here for Macs) or on a second monitor if you have one). Think about the descriptions of publication types above, especially:

  • What is the purpose of the article?
  • What do you know about the publication it is published in?
  • Notice how the article (and other articles, advertisements and other types of texts) is written. Who is the audience? How does the article communicate to them?
  • Language (formal, informal, argot)
  • Intended audience
  • Author credentials/expertise
  • Journal publisher/sponsoring organization 
  • Visual cues - what kind of advertising is there (if any)? What kind of photos, charts, and other graphics?
  • What else...?

Remember, you can learn about a journal or other publication by skimming its website ("vertical reading") and doing lateral reading (looking it up on the web to get a sense of how it is viewed/reputation), but there is also a subscription database available through the WSU Libraries that will provide information - Ulrich's Global Serials Directory.

Disciplinary Discovery Databases and Activity

screenshot of Search It home


Some databases are interdisciplinary, like Academic Search Complete. It's interdisciplinary because it covers so many academic disciplines and fields, but it also includes different types of journals - articles may be from many of the types we've discussed today.


Some databases are disciplinary, like many of those classed by discipline here (this is what we will be looking at)


Other types of databases may be based on format (i.e. newspapers) or provenance (i.e. US government publications)


Activity: Select a disciplinary area that is appropriate for your topic, and then select a disciplinary discovery database (example: I wanted to write about ways to increase voter turnout, so I chose Political Science as my discipline and Worldwide Political Science Abstracts as my database, then I looked for articles about voter turnout, looking for studies that suggested  methods that had been proven to increase voter turnout)


Note: There is a downloadable document in the left margin, Lorena's Reading Matrix, that is a way I help keep track of what I read. I can staple it to each printed -out article, or insert it as the first page if its a PDF.

Evaluating Articles (Books Too!)


This process may help you as well. It's useful for any information source, including books and websites.

A Three-Stage Evaluation Process: Making sure that you identify items that are appropriate for your literature review or other parts of your research proposal:

1. Aboutness – immediate scan of title and abstract (i.e. is it a research study? How old is the article? Does it look relevant to you? )

2. Practical Skim– requires longer skim of abstract and actual article – doing it as you find the article may save you time/effort – can also do after you’ve saved/printed the article (hint: if the article lets you see the text as a HTML file, you can skim it more easily that way - but if you decide to download it, be sure to download the PDF version)

  •  Language ; type of article (i.e. peer reviewed versus popular ;  source (i.e country) ; author(s); setting ; date of pub; participants/subjects ; content (topic, variables) ; program/intervention ; research design (i.e. sophisticated quantitative modeling versus qualitative research, i.e. interviews or a survey )
  •  sampling ; date of data collection ; duration of data collection ; funding source

3. Going deeper: content and methodological quality, rigor – requires a close read of the research article; things you are learning in your disciplinary classes or in future


Hmmm. Can Generative AI help me with this, maybe by summarizing the article for me? Let's ask ChatGPT-3 (The -3 matters...) 



Tracing Scholarly Conversations via Citations

Web of Science (paywall) and Google Scholar (free) are multidisciplinary database that has can be searched in multiple ways, including by citation trails. Think about citation practices - who and what is cited by a publication, and then, who and what in turn cites *that* publication. What does this suggest about academic discourse and conversations?

Review: Finding Books and More (Updated for Fall 2023)

Database Dive

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