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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 journal article?

Scholarly journal articles are written by experts (researchers, academics, or practitioners) in a field or discipline.  They are written for an academic audience and typically peer-reviewed, or critically reviewed by other scholars in the field before being published. Although you can sometimes find full scholarly journal articles from Google or Google Scholar, the best way to access them is through the library's databases and search engines.

Though the parts may vary a bit by discipline and journal, an empirical research article typically includes standard components. The components are often labeled but the terminology can vary a bit.  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.

If you'd like a visual explanation of the parts of a scholarly article, the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article website below is helpful.

How do you read a scholarly journal article?

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 relevance 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!

What is peer review?

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.