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Research Process: Scholarly vs. Popular

This guide focuses on the skills and resources needed to complete a research project.

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 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                

 

 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                

Introduction

Scholarly articles are written by experts in academic and professional fields. They are a great resource for finding out what has already been studied or researched as well as finding bibliographies that can point you to other relevant information resources.

Scholarly vs Popular

Scholarly Popular
Specific and indepth General and broad
Language is dense Language is easy to read
Author is expert, specialist Author is journalist, blogger, not listed
Used for Research Used for Entertainment
Always cites sources Rarely/never cites sources
Audience is other experts Audience is general public
Usually has charts and graphs    Usually has ads and pictures
Considered credible Considered questionable (at best reputable)  

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

The Peer-Review Process

Here is a short video explaining the peer-review process.

Parts of a Journal Article

Reading scholarly articles is different than reading a book. There is no need to read the article word for word from front to back. This could be a waste of time if it turns out that it does not meet your research needs. Follow these steps to save time and get the most out of the article:

 

Step 1 -  Read the Abstract

 The abstract will provide a brief description of the article. It will outline the problem and its setting, outline of the study, argument or experiment and a summary of the conclusions or findings. If the information that is in the abstract does not apply to your research needs then the article will not be useful. Generally, when searching for an article the database will provide the abstract. 

 

 

Step 2 - Read the Introduction

The introduction contains much of the same information as the abstract. However it is expanded upon in this section.It is also important because this is where the author will present the thesis of his/her argument. If this information fits your research needs move on to the next step.

 

 

 

Step 3 - Read the Conclusion 

The conclusion generally summarizes the contents of the article and then provides ideas to expand upon the research. This "expanding upon the research" may be a way for the author to admit to weakness in his argument so if you are looking to criticize the work this would be important information. 

 

Step 4 - Skim the Article Text

Finally, skim the rest of the article text. You should only stop if you find something interesting or you need more information on an idea you found in the abstract or conclusion.

Finding Articles with Original Research and Methodology

Reading an Article