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Psychology 101 Assignment Guide

Recommended Scholarly Database

What are Scholarly Sources?

The term scholarly sources is a blanket term that is often used interchangeably with academic sources and peer-reviewed sources - and they typically have the following qualities:

  • Written by experts - scholarly sources are created by people that have advanced far in their field of study.
  • Written for experts - scholarly sources are created to inform other experts in a field about advances or new ideas.
  • Technical language - authors of scholarly sources assume the readership is conversant with the content discussed, and are typically taking great care to ensure that the arguments and claims within their works are narrow and specific; thus the language of scholarly sources will be dense.
  • Citations to other sources - authors of scholarly work do a lot of research for their publications. They build upon the research of others, and cite that research throughout their own work.
  • Review process - before publication, scholarly sources are thoroughly reviewed by a group of experts to make sure that the content of the source is sound and valid.

Typically, academic journals contain scholarly sources called academic articles. Academic articles are going to be your go to resource for scholarly material.

Why Scholarly?

Why bother or care about scholarly sources?

  • Scholarly sources are the best because they make claims, and then support those claims with evidence.
  • You get information directly from researchers, rather than watered down through various filters of commentary and interpretation. It's the pure stuff. The good stuff.
  • Because scholars are experts, using their findings to support your arguments makes your paper stronger while making your points more persuasive.

Sure - you could write a paper just using background information while not really saying anything new. It would, in essence, be a book report that reiterates what is already known about a subject. Those kinds of papers are boring - they are boring to write, and they are boring to read.

The Peer-Review Process

How to Identify Research Studies

Types of Psychology Journal Articles

Scholarly psychology journals usually feature two types of articles:

  • REVIEWS look at other peoples' research and summarize research in a specific area of study.
  • RESEARCH STUDIES report the original research being conducted by the authors of the article.

‚ÄčQuick Indicators of Original Research Studies

Read the ABSTRACT of an article before diving into it completely and then give the article a quick once over. You are looking for keywords such as:

  • PURPOSE or OBJECTIVE: Why the experiment is being done in the first place, the question that the researchers are attempting to address with their research.
  • PARTICIPANTS, POPULATION, or SUBJECTS: In psychology, research is done on people or animals – a research article should discuss who participated in a study. If it DOES NOT talk about the people used in the research, it may be an analysis or review of research. It is likely NOT a research study.
  • METHODS or METHODOLOGY: This explains how the research is done.
  • RESULTS or FINDINGS: An explanation of what the researchers found within the scope of their experiment or research.
  • CONCLUSIONS and/or DISCUSSION: A description of what the researchers’ findings entail or mean, and suggestions for future research informed by such findings.

Adapted from “What is Original Research?”

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