Article writing: types of articles and writing techniques for each Oct 04, 2012
We come across a variety of writing styles and formats in our daily encounters with literature. From reading an online article, to a print publication or scholarly dissertation, we are exposed to various article formats regularly. There are numerous types of articles, described by different names, some familiar and some not. A straightforward way to manage all these types of articles is to categorize them into four major groups; academic, newspaper, special-interest, and profession. Below you will find a brief explanation of each article and helpful writing techniques to consider for each.
The type of article that people often find themselves needing much guidance with is the academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed article. These are scholarly works that are generally lengthy and involve research, analyzation and exploration of data. The format of such articles are usually; abstract, literature review, hypothesis, methods, results, conclusion and bibliography
. In many cases, if well-composed, these articles are published in respectable journals related to the topic. For this category the first technique you want to utilize is clearly identifying a purpose.
Identify your purpose
This step is very important for academic articles as they are highly criticized by peers and field scholars. Clarity and precision are crucial (there is no room for uncertainties or "gray-areas" when it comes to academic writing). The purpose of your article should be to inform, explore, or analyze. You will either be informing the audience of your original research or exploring and analyzing previous research.
*Some articles of this nature are presented as reviews and criticisms of old research as well as platforms for new and innovated research.
Add something new
Put quite simply, the reader wants to know, is this article worth my time? In carefully analyzing your discipline you need to ensure that the topic you selected for research is beneficial and necessary to the field.
*One reason your academic article may not get published is because of this factor. Your article should be noteworthy and significant to studies in this area.
Perform a thorough literature review
Literature reviews that are poorly constructed are a major reason behind subpar, deficient academic articles. To show your authority on a matter you must first show your understanding and competency of the current literature on the topic. A full and thorough literature review takes time but will show in your final product.
Your newspaper article should be factual and concise use language appropriate for the average reader (generally no higher than a middle school education level). This type of writing is basic in format and style but requires consciousness on the part of the writer in aiming to provide unbiased and factual information. Some techniques to keep in mind when formulating your newspaper article are as follows;
Obtain verifiable information
Your article is just as good as the information you provide. Before reporting on an issue you need to conduct the appropriate amount of research required to investigate the story's details. This may include fact finding, interviews, and observing events or happenings connected to the topic.
Grab the reader's attention
The objective of newspaper writing is to inform the reader of an incident or event. A great part of that is first captivating them by relaying the most relevant, interesting fact of the story. Though all writing should be engaging, this point is extremely important when it comes to news articles.
A great story usually always includes quotations. Readers like to see the take of a professional, eye witness, or other reputable individual regarding the story or topic thats being conveyed.
*Another great tip on news paper writing is that the sources are imbedded within the text. For example; take note of this excerpt from a news article posted to CNN's website about a border patrol agent.
"James Turgal, special agent in charge of the FBI for the Phoenix division, declined to say whether the agents involved in the incident returned fire."
Its clear that the writer provided the reader with one of his sources which was the special agent named above. All of the necessary information is included in the same sentence eliminating the need for a bibliography or work cited page.
Special-Interest, Popular or Entertainment Articles
Articles written for entertainment or special-interest are usually exciting to write and even more stimulating for the reader. Such publications are generally found in magazines and the entertainment sections of newspapers. They are usually specific in that the subject being discussed and how it is presented cannot really be found in other mediums. The topics should be unique and compelling; similar to newspaper articles they should also grab the readers attention and encourage them to continue reading. The following are some tips on special-interest writing.
Study your market
If you're considering submitting your writing to a magazine or other venue invest some time in studying the market you are writing for. Unless you are only submitting articles to organizations you are very familiar with (which would be wise at first) you'll need to do your homework
. Get a subscription to the publication or read a couple articles before writing to understand what materials get past the editors.
Know the guidelines
Special-interest stories are not very difficult to write. After you've identified an appealing genre and subject matter its not much more than pen to paper. But one major issue to keep in mind, to save yourself time and the editors, is to properly identify the guidelines of each publication. Generally when seeking to write for a magazine or other publisher what is expected of each writer, and their writing is clearly stated by the company. Memorize these guidelines beforehand to keep them in mind while writing.
These articles may also be referred to as trade articles and and are written specifically for people involved in a particular profession or trade such as teachers, nurses, and electricians. This category is actually somewhat similar to the first category in a few respects. For example, the language often used with profession-related articles is specific to that profession and the author is likely to be a professional or scholar in that discipline. Take note of this helpful strategy when writing your trade article.
Choose a helpful niche
As with any article you want the reader to feel as though the material you present is helpful and beneficial. With articles related to a profession, readers are often looking for something that will enhance their profession in one way or the other. For example, you can choose to write about new methods to improve productivity on the job, employment listings or company reviews, current or popular trends in work habits or methods, important news that affects the profession, or new products available for utilization. A well-structured article in anyone of these areas should receive noticeable attention.
*Additionally, you don't have to be a member of the profession to write about it. As long as you do your homework and are well-informed just about anyone can contribute to this type of article writing.
Hopefully, the information provided here will help to furnish a basic foundation for the four main types of articles. The writing techniques suggested may be of assistance to new, current, or expectant writers. Knowing the unique characteristics of each type and how to out-perform in those areas should prove profitable by adding to your writer's toolkit and enhancing your overall performance.