Start with a simple search—add limiters one at a time as needed.
Use “phrase searches” for multi-word concepts.
Too many articles from the wrong discipline? Add your course—“sociology”--as a search term.
Follow assignment guidelines regarding the terms “scholarly” (or “academic”) and “peer-reviewed.” Trade journals can also be peer-reviewed, so use both limiters if the assignment indicates.
Be aware that some sections of scholarly and peer-reviewed sources are not research articles. Letters to the editor, book reviews or even obituaries may be included in scholarly publications. You are looking just for research articles.
Find something? Don’t let it get away. Email all potential articles to yourself, and include citation and other help available from the database. It costs nothing to “discard” extra articles that you don’t use.
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Save time and stress by reading the Abstract first. It will not only reveal the content of the full article, but may be an indicator of how difficult it might be to read and understand.
Read the Title, Abstract and Introduction carefully, then skip to the Results or Discussion to see the researchers’ findings and conclusions.
Quoting or paraphrasing from an article? Focus on the Results and Discussion (or Conclusion) sections. Other sections may be discussing ideas borrowed from earlier research.
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