Every author has an intended purpose for their work. For example, what is the purpose of the news? To stay informed on current events. What is the purpose of science fiction novels? To entertain. What about scholarly peer-reviewed articles? To present recent research findings to other scholars in the field.
There are numerous reasons that an author might write a work. These are good categories to consider:
Informational: To provide knowledge, facts, data, or information about a specific topic.
Persuasive: To persuade readers to adopt a particular viewpoint, to take action, or to challenge held beliefs or behaviors.
Entertainment: To engage the reader's imagination or to provide enjoyment.
Expressive and/or Reflective: Authors express their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences. Reflective writing incorporates these concepts, but also includes introspective elements that provoke internal or external dialogue.
Instructional: Step-by-step guides that provide how-to knowledge, with the goal of completing a specific task.
When selecting resources, choose materials that have a similar purpose to your goals. For example, if you are writing a scientific literature review, choose scholarly materials over news or magazine sources.
While many authors write helpful and informative creditable resources, some authors intentionally write and disseminate false information. This is known as disinformation.
The graphic below highlights the 10 different types of disinformation and misinformation. As you are researching, be on the lookout for sources that may not be truthful or that may intentionally present wrong information.
Graphic created by Groundviews, under a CC BY-ND license.