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BGSU University Libraries

Human Development & Family Studies: Scholarly Journal Articles

A guide to resources in the BGSU Libraries and on the Internet that may help you research topics for Human Development and Family Studies

What is a scholarly article?

Scholarly journal articles are written by experts (researchers or academics) in the field or discipline.  They are written for an academic audience and follow a specific article format.  They are usually peer-reviewed, or critically reviewed by other scholars in the field before being published.

Though the parts may vary a bit by discipline and journal, scholarly articles typically include standard components. The components are often labeled, but not always, and the label terminology can vary a bit too.  Here are typical parts and terminology used:

ABSTRACT:  The summary of the article located at the beginning of the article.  It may or may not be labeled as the abstract.

INTRODUCTION:  A short explanation and overview of the research topic or question and why the research was performed.

LITERATURE REVIEW:  An overview of  previously published scholarly articles related to the article's research topic.

METHOD / METHODOLOGY:  An explanation of the process followed in the research.  

RESULTS / FINDINGS:   An accounting of  what happened when the research was performed.

DISCUSSION / CONCLUSION:  Analysis of the results.  What do they mean?  What was learned? What is the importance of the results?  

REFERENCES / BIBLIOGRAPHY: Information sources (research of others) used when conducting the research and/or writing the article.

What is peer reviewed?

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

How do you know if a journal's articles are peer-reviewed?

You can usually find this information on a journal's website under a section title something like Information for Authors.

You can also look up the journal title in the library database  Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.   After searching for the journal title and locating the record, looked for the icon of a striped referee shirt that indicates it contains peer-reviewed articles.

How do you read a scholarly article?

Learning to read a scholarly articles begins with understanding the components of the article.  Check out this diagram of the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article, hovering over various article segments.  (Used with permission by North Carolina State University under Creative Commons license.)

The following tips will help you determine if an article is right for you!

  1. Start by reading the abstract  (summary)  of the article.  Sound good?   If so, move to step 2
  2. Jump down and read the article's conclusion.  Does it support your purpose?   This is a useful method for determining the article's relevancy before reading the entire article.
  3. Browsing through the introduction can also help you determine relevancy.   Convinced it's a good article for your needs?
  4. Return to the beginning & read the entire article!