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Introduction to the Field of Sociology

Sociology Databases

How do I tell if an article is popular or scholarly?






Who reads it? General public. Professionals in the field, scholars and "experts"
Who writes these? Reporters, journalists, almost anyone. Professionals, scholars and "experts".
What's in them? News, non-technical language, entertainment/general interest articles.  No bibliographies and may be slanted to illicit an emotional response. In-depth research, technical language, original research studies, bibliographies and references.  Typically more objective.
What do they look like? Consumer advertising, glossy photos, attractive layout. Dense text.  Fewer, more specialized ads.
When/how are they available? Typically available:  weekly and/or daily.  Available at newsstands. Typically available:  monthly, quarterly, or biannually.  Usually subscription only.
What are they good for? Broad overview of complex topics, popular perspective, finding out what is being written about a topic generally. Current research findings, checking accuracy of data and/or statistics, reviewing important research on a specific topic or theme.
What else? Usually used as a secondary source.  Editors and publishers decide what gets printed each issue. Primary source for lab or field research.  Secondary sources for review articles.  Panel of author's colleagues decide what gets printed in each issue.
Some examples: Some examples:  Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, New York Times Some examples: Nature, Journal of Ecology, Climate Research

Taken from UW Research 101

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.

Note: Not all scholarly articles will have charts/graphs/equations.

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