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Sociology Research: Finding Articles

Designed to point you to the sociology resources you need to be successful in your research and professional development.

Why use periodical articles?

Articles that appear in periodicals--such as newspapers, magazines, or scholarly journals--are good resources to use in your research.  You can use periodical articles to support an argument, to explain a topic, or to provide additional perspectives on an issue.

Why do I have to use a database to find an article?

The library subscribes to databases to provide access to periodical articles.  The content contained in these databases are typically not freely available on the internet.  You have to pay to get access to them.  But with an article database, the library is paying for that access for you.  That's why you have to go through the database to get the articles.

Don't ever pay to download an article from the internet--talk to a librarian, and we can more than likely get you a copy of the article at no charge to you.  That's what libraries do! 


Academic, Peer Reviewed, Scholarly

Q - How do I know if it is a scholarly article?

A - Most databases have a checkbox to limit your results to scholarly articles.  However, sometimes editorials and book reviews can pop up because they are contained in these journals as well.  The quick and easy way to check is to ask if it looks like a research paper.  Are there sources listed in a bibliography or footnotes.  Is there a Methods section?  If in doubt, ask a Librarian or your Instructor.

Q - What is peer-review?

When experts in the field, such as sociology, serve on an editorial board to read and review new articles that are submitted to the journal.  Usually an article will have three independent reviewers.  They evaluate the article to see if it is valuable new knowledge to be added to the field of their discipline.  Sometimes authors (scholars) must re-submit their work with edits, sometimes they are referred to another journal, sometimes they are rejected. 

By the time an article gets published in a scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed or refereed (all of these are synonyms) journal, it has been through a rigorous review process, so we trust the authority of the information as being valid.  Often times journalists will refer to scholarly journals in magazines and newspapers, because they have authority in a discipline.