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SOCI 121 (Mathur)

Scholarly Research Articles

In some of your assignments in SOCI121 you will be asked to present a research-based article on a sociology-related topic. Depending on the specifics of your assignment, the topic you will be researching may be based on a chapter from your textbook, a film you watch in class, or a lecture presented by your instructor.

These kinds of articles are also sometimes called scholarly articles, academic articles, or peer-reviewed articles, and the specific ones you are looking for contain original research. If you don't have much experience performing research with library materials then you might not be sure what you're looking for, so let's break it down (note that there are three tabs to view in the section below):

You are no doubt familiar with magazines and newspapers, but you may not be as familiar with journals. Here are the differences to note:

Magazines vs. Journals

  • Magazines and newspapers contain articles typically written for a general or popular audience, while journal articles are written for a specific or niche audience, typically for scholars within a specific field
  • Magazines and newspapers have articles with popular topics, such as business, news, entertainment, and may contain commentary while journal articles are written on scholarly topics and often contain original research
  • One of the easiest way to recognize the difference between magazines and newspapers vs journals is visually: the former has lots of photos and graphics, while the later contains lots of graphs and statistics

A research article follows a very specific format. Understanding what these parts are will help you to identify if what you're looking at is a research article:

Research articleEnd of research article

When searching for research-based or scholarly articles look for:

  • Typically longer articles (the one above is 20 pages long)
  • An abstract summarizing the article at the start
  • A section that describes the methods that the research followed
  • In-text citations throughout noting outside research referenced
  • Tables and statistics of the data gathered
  • A conclusion
  • A list of references at the end

The final thing you should know about these types of articles is how they are created an published. As mentioned earlier, they are sometimes called "peer-reviewed" articles and you may see that as a refining option when searching the databases. This short video explains the unique way that articles like these make it to publication: