Strategies for Reading Scholarly Articles
When reading a scholarly article, consider the following:
1. Know your research question: As you explore resources, your research question may change or evolve; still, you want to maintain a solid research focus.
2. You don't have to read the entire article from beginning to end: Start with the Title and Abstract, which give you the purpose of the article, a small amount of context, and a summary of the findings. After you read these elements, ask yourself:
Do the Title & Abstract help add to your understanding of the topic? Do they provide answers to your research question(s)?
If they don't do any of these things, you should locate a different article. But if they add to your understanding, move on to the Introduction and Conclusion sections of the article. After reading these areas, ask yourself:
What did the authors want to learn; what did they study? (Review the thesis statement, research question, hypothesis)
Next, take a deeper look at the Results section, which includes specific pieces of data, statistics, or examples from the study. Afterwards, move on to the Discussion section, which interprets these results and helps you understand why they're important.
If it takes too much effort to make the article "fit" into your research, set it aside and move on to the next one. After reading the whole article, ask yourself:
How does the article answer my research question(s)?
3. Read the References/Bibliography section: Reading references or works cited may lead you to other critical resources.
4. Annotate the article as you read: Keeping your research question(s) in mind as you annotate (mark up) the article. Paraphrase key information and concepts that can be cited in your research assignment.
5. Read the article at least twice: Scholarly articles are incredibly complex, so definitely read twice to make sure you understand the content.
Finding Non-Scholarly Sources for your PSYC 361 Assignments
Google Smart Searching strategies
To do a Google Smart search, go to the search bar and type in your keyword [ex. dementia] space followed by site:.edu (or .gov, .org). This type of search narrows your results to specific types of sources (academic, non-profit, or government-related), which can be helpful in locating credible information.
Useful websites for PSYC 361 research
Use these databases to search across newspapers and news magazines. To access full-text of the article, look for the GET-IT Button.
| ProQuest - News & Newspapers
Search among ProQuest’s News & Newspapers databases
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1985 to current||None|
Covers news and business information, including Dow Jones and Reuters newswires and The Wall Street Journal, plus more than 8,000 other sources providing current news.
|Full-text||1975 to current||Some|
| Academic Search Premier
This scholarly collection offers information in nearly every area of academic study including: computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, ethnic studies, and many more.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1975 to current||Most|
An important index to political, economic, and social issues in current debate.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1972 to current||All|
| Ethnic NewsWatch
Full-text ethnic newspapers, searchable in English or Spanish.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1992 to current||None|
GenderWatch contains publications which focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas. GenderWatch is a repository of an important historical perspective on the evolution of the women’s movement and the changes in gender roles.
|Full-text||1970 to current||All|
| San Diego Union Tribune (current coverage)
The San Diego Union-Tribune is the product of a merger of the San Diego Union, founded in 1868, and the Evening Tribune, founded in 1895. Published from an editorial, printing and business plant in San Diego's Mission Valley, it is the second-oldest newspaper in Southern California, and the oldest business in San Diego County; an area known as a popular vacation destination and home to Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, consisting of 4,235 acres. The Union-Tribune has won numerous journalism awards over the years, including the Pulitzer Prize, and features daily news, sports, shopping, and entertainment coverage for the San Diego area.
|Full-text||1983 to current||Some|
| San Diego Union Newspaper Archive
Collection of newspapers published in San Diego under various titles, including the San Diego Union.
|Full-text||1872 to 1983|
| Los Angeles Times (1996-present)
Los Angeles Times articles from 1996-present. For articles published prior to 1996, see the Los Angeles Times (Historical) Database.
|Full-text||1996 to present||None|
| Los Angeles Times (Historical)
Archival issues and articles beginning with 1881. Issues published during the past twenty-four years are not available in this database. Check ProQuest or Factiva databases for the material not held in this collection.
| New York Times (Current, 1980-present)
Articles from the New York Times from 1980-present. For articles prior to 1980, see the New York Times (Historical Collection) Database.
|Full-text||1980 to present||None|
| New York Times (Historical Collection)
The New York Times Historical Collection provides full page and article images including the NY Daily Times (1851-1857). The most recent four years not included in this historical collection can be searched through ProQuest Direct, LexisNexis or Factiva.
| African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
Newspapers digitized from 37 states chronicling African American experiences and influence in a variety of events from the early 19th through late 20th centuries.
|Full-text||1827 to 1998||None|
| Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980
Spanish and English language newspapers offering news, advertisements, opinion and more from across the nation reflecting contemporary thought and activity.
|Full-text||1808 to 1980||None|
Locating Scholarly Articles for your PSYC 361 Assignments
A scholarly article is how researchers (scholars) communicate the findings and analysis of their research. Scholarly articles:
- Provide original research and analysis - these articles are based on studies or experiments, or analyze an artifact or event. Every scholarly article presents something new about the world we didn't know before.
- Are written by scholars - scholars tend to hold PhDs, or other advanced degrees and are professors at universities.
- Are published in peer-reviewed journals - These are generally accessed via library databases.
- Might be hard to read - they act as the primary conversation between scholars about a field of study. Since they are written by scholars, for scholars, they contain specialized language that might be hard for the lay person to understand.
Clinical Case Studies & Non-clinical Case Studies
Clinical case studies are "case reports that include disorder, diagnosis, and clinical treatment for individuals with mental or medical illnesses," whereas non-clinical case studies are documents that consist of "non-clinical or organizational case examples of the concepts being researched or studied. The setting is always non-clinical and does not include treatment-related environments." (Source: APA Databases Methodology Field Values)
Video Tutorial: A Clinical Case Study or Nonclinical Case Study using PsycINFO
Using the PsycINFO Thesaurus
The PsycINFO Thesaurus is a list of controlled vocabulary terms that function as authoritative subject classifications for psychological concepts.
These terms simplify access--all related entries in the database can be located by using the right standardized term. Identifying the right subject terms used in the database helps focus searches so you can find the articles that best suit your research.
Video Tutorial: Using the PsycINFO Thesaurus (Sources: University of Michigan Library & American Psychological Association)
Available via EbscoHost: A comprehensive international database of psychology, covering the academic, research, and practice literature in psychology from over 45 countries in more than 30 languages.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1887 to current||All|
| Biological Abstracts
A complete collection of bibliographic references covering life science and biomedical research literature published from more than 4,000 journals internationally.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1969 to current||Most|
| PubMed @ CSUSM
The premier database of world biomedical literature on clinical medicine and preclinical research. Medline provides a more user-friendly interface, but less updated content.
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||1966 to current||All|
| Google Scholar CSUSM
Link to citations and full-text from your CSUSM Library databases and beyond!
|Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It||current to current||All|
Provides full text access to over 1,000 journals covering all fields of science.
|Full-text||1995 to current||Most|
| Sociological Abstracts
Provides access to the latest international findings in theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and political science.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1963 to current||All|
| Social Services Abstracts
Abstracts of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1980 to current||All|
| Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)
Provides abstracts of articles from about 2,000 journals (published worldwide), coverage of recent books, book review citations and dissertation listings.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1973 to current||All|
| CINAHL Complete
CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature, provides indexing for articles from 5,400 journals in the fields of nursing and allied health. This database provides full text access to more than 1,300 journals dating back to 1937.
|Links to full-text via Get-It||1937 to current||Most|
Determining Credibility of your Sources
Determining credibility of your sources is critical to selecting appropriate information sources for your research assignments. Scholarly journals are regarded as the most credible types of sources because of the rigorous peer review process they undergo.
You will likely consult non-scholarly sources including newspaper articles and websites for general background information on your chosen topic; thus, you will also need to determine credibility of these sources.
Here are some ways to identify credibility:
Source: University of South Carolina, Upstate Library
Citing Your Sources
Here are some APA resources for you to consult; if you have specific questions about citation, please ask a librarian.
- In Text Citations by APA (Video)
- APA Formatting and Style Guide by Purdue Online Writing Lab (Comprehensive online guide with examples)
- APA Sample Paper by Purdue Online Writing Lab (PDF)