News Hooks

White papers, working papers, research articles: What's the difference?

Journalists rely on three types of research papers most often in their work: White papers, working papers and peer-reviewed journal articles.

How are they different? And which is best?

Below, we explain each, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses. As always, we urge journalists to use care in selecting any research to ground their coverage and fact-check claims.


Peer-reviewed article

Economic impact studies: Should journalists rely on them?

One of journalists’ most important jobs is to scrutinize decisions made by governing bodies such as a state legislature, county council or school board. One facet of local government that journalists should pay particular attention to is how government leaders use and respond to economic impact studies — analyses that attempt to measure the impact a project such as a new tourist attraction or highway would have on economic activity in a given area.