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  • Tips for Finding a Good Article

    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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    Smart Strategies for Article Analysis

    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.

    ProQuest Central

    Questions about how to use ProQuest?  Take a look at these Helpful Videos.

    Other CFCC Databases for Science

    Magazines vs Trade Journals vs Scholarly Journals

    Here's what to look for:





    Content Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform. Current news, trends and products in a specific industry; practical information for professionals working in the field or industry. In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication.
    Author Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise. Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise. Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.
    Audience General public; the interested non-specialist. Professionals in the field; the interested non-specialist. Scholars, researchers, and students.
    Language Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.
    Graphics Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs. Photographs; some graphics and charts; advertisements targeted to professionals in the field. Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.
    Layout & Organization Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion. Informal; articles organized like a journal or a newsletter. Evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge. Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.
    Accountability Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed*; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.
    References Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given. Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required. Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.
    Paging Each issue begins with page 1. Each issue generally begins with page 1. Page numbers are generally consecutive throughout the volume.