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SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology (Medlin)

Introduction to the Field of Sociology

What are Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly Journals?

Your professor wants you to write a paper using articles from peer-reviewed journals (aka scholarly, refereed, or academic journals). What does that mean? Why does it matter? 

Scholarly journals are specialized publications that feature original research or analysis written by experts. Most scholarly journals are peer-reviewed or refereed; that means every article is reviewed by a panel of experts, the author's peers, before it is accepted for publication. Your professor wants you to use scholarly journals because they are considered the most accurate and reliable sources for college-level work. Using scholarly journals is also a good way to learn how experts conduct research and share their findings.

While not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process, it is usually safe to assume that a peer-reviewed journal is also scholarly.

How do you find scholarly journals? Start with the Databases section of the library website. The databases listed there can be used to search thousands of journals, magazines, newspapers, and books. When choosing a database, read the description to find out if the database covers journals. Once you choose a database, look for a "peer-reviewed" or "scholarly journals" option on the search page. Choose the "scholarly journals" option to limit your search to show only articles in journals, not in newspapers, magazines, and other publications.

Trade journals are another type of publication that can be confused with scholarly journals. Although they are called journals, trade journals are actually very similar to popular magazines. Most trade journals feature short articles with news, opinion, or analysis of topics relevant to people who work in a particular industry. To make matters more confusing, some trade publications are peer reviewed. Examples or trade journals include Corrections Today, Education Week, and Restaurant Business.

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Presented here are the first and last pages of a scholarly article. Click on the highlighted areas for clues about what to look for when identifying scholarly articles.

What are databases and why do you need them?

Online Databases

Kirk Library has many online databases you can use for your research needs.  The following databases are recommended for you to complete your work for this class.

NOTE: If you are off campus (e.g. at home), you will need to validate that you are a CC student.  You will need to enter your last name in capital letters (e.g. SMITH) and your student number (e.g. 910xxxxxx).



Periodical Article Databases:

Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)

Academic Search Premier contains full-text articles for approximately 4,600 periodicals. Covers topics including: literature, controversial issues, business, health & medicine, psychology, sociology, law, religion, philosophy, media studies, and many more. (Available to CC students, staff, and faculty.)

ProQuest Research Library

One-stop access to more than 4,000 periodicals from this broad, general database. Search from a highly-respected, diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, and magazines covering over 150 academic disciplines.(Available to CC students, staff, and faculty.)

Other Databases:

Credo Reference

Credo Reference is a full-text online reference database (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.). The collection includes over three million entries from over 400 well-regarded encyclopedias and dictionaries from more than 60 of world’s best reference publishers. (Available to CC students, staff, and faculty.)


Reports on population, government, statistics, economics, culture, and many other aspects of over 182 countries. (Available to CC students, staff, and faculty.)

Go to the following webpage to get the full list of online databases:

Reading Scholarly Articles

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