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Sociology and Social Work: Find Scholarly & Popular Articles

Find Scholarly and Popular Articles in a Library Database

Online Scholarly Journal Databases

WARNING: Many web-based search engines do not provide full-text articles without payment. NEVER PAY for an article. Instead submit an Interlibrary Loan request; it’s likely that we can get it for you for free.

Library Database Search Tips

How many keywords should you use when searching a database? Find out below:

Video created by the Kimbel Library at Coastal Carolina University. 

Find Statistics

Try out these resources to find specialized types of scholarly content like statistics.

Scholary Sources VS Popular Sources

Scholarly Sources

Picture of the cover of the American Journal of Psychology, which is blue with some yellow lines.

Popular Sources

Picture of the cover of Psychology Today which is a sheep in glasses.

  • Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
  • Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
  • Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
  • Purpose: Published by non-profit or education organizations to communicate new ideas.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be longer and are on very specific topics.
  • Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied. (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public.
  • Audience: Written for the general public.
  • Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
  • Purpose: Often published by for-profit companies for revenue and profit.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be short and on topics of general interest.
  • Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.

REMEMBER: Popular DOES NOT equal bad. Check with your professors to find out which popular sources they accept.

How to Identify Research Studies

Scholarly Journals often have two types of articles:

  • Reviews look at other peoples' research and summarize research in a specific area of study.
  • Research studies report the actual research being conducted by the authors of the article.

Research Studies will often have these distinct sections:

  • Abstract: Brief summary of the article and its contents.
  • Introduction: Provides background and possibly discusses earlier research.
  • Methods: Lays out the methods used to conduct the research.
  • Results: Reports the results of the research. Often includes charts and/or tables.
  • Discussion and/or Conclusion: Discusses the results for the research and talks about other steps that can be taken.
  • Literature Cited or Bibliography: Lists sources cited in the article.

Check to see if the article has a METHODS section and a RESULTS section. If it DOES NOT have these two sections IT IS NOT A RESEARCH STUDY.

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