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PSYC 361 Brain and Mind (Winter Intercession 2019)

Strategies for Reading Scholarly Articles

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.

Additional Resources:

Art of Reading a Journal Article - Methodically and Effectively

Reading a Social Science-related scholarly article

Evaluation during Reading (Purdue OWL)

Reading a scholarly article (video) - Kishwaukee College Library

How to read a scholarly article (Western University)

 

 

 

 

Finding Non-Scholarly Sources for your PSYC 361 Assignments

Finding Non-Scholarly Sources for PSYC 361 Assignments (Winter Intercession 2019)

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.

Dementia Google Smart Search Education domain

Useful websites for PSYC 361 research

National Institute of Mental Health

Medline Plus

Centers for Disease Control

 

 

Current News & Newspapers

Use these databases to search across newspapers and news magazines. To access full-text of the article, look for the GET-IT Button.

Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
ProQuest - News & Newspapers

Search among ProQuest’s News & Newspapers databases

Report Problems
Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1985 to current None
Factiva

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.

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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.

Report Problems
Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1975 to current Most
PAIS

An important index to political, economic, and social issues in current debate.

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Links to full-text via Get-It 1972 to current All
Ethnic NewsWatch

Full-text ethnic newspapers, searchable in English or Spanish.

Report Problems
Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1992 to current None
GenderWatch

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.

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Full-text 1970 to current All
Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
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.

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Full-text Archive 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.

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Full-text Archive None
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.

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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.

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Full-text 1808 to 1980 None

Locating Scholarly Articles for your PSYC 361 Assignments

Locating Scholarly Articles for 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)

Psychology Databases

Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
PsycINFO

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.

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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.

Report Problems
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.

Report Problems
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!

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Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It current to current All
ScienceDirect

Provides full text access to over 1,000 journals covering all fields of science.

Report Problems
Full-text 1995 to current Most
Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
Sociological Abstracts

Provides access to the latest international findings in theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and political science.

Report Problems
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.

Report Problems
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.

Report Problems
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.

Report Problems
Links to full-text via Get-It 1937 to current Most

Determining Credibility of your Sources

Credibility of 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.

However, for PSYC 361, you will also need to 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:

Authority
  • Can you identify the author(s)? If the source is anonymous, why?
  • Can you identify author credentials (education, job expertise)? Can these be verified elsewhere?
  • Is the author affiliated with an academic institution or credible organization?
  • Is there an "About Us" page that describes the organization?
  • Do a Google search for the author's name (enclose in quotation marks) and see what kind of sites come up. Do they seem credible?
Accuracy
  • Does the information have grammatical/spelling errors? 
  • Does it list sources or links to factual information? Are the links updated or do they lead to 404 error pages?
  • Is there a bibliography?
  • Can this information be verified elsewhere?
  • What kind of editorial vetting did the information undergo?
  • Is the research methodology adequately explained?
Audience
  • Who is the intended audience for the information? Academics? General public?
  • Is the information appropriate for your research assignment?
Bias
  • Does the author present objective arguments or make it clear when they're expressing opinions?
  • Is the website personal or institutional?
  • What other views are expressed?
  • Are there advertisements? If so, how are they differentiated from the content?
  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform? To persuade? To market?
  • What does the URL say about the website? .com=Commercial, .edu=Educational, .gov=Government, .mil=Military, .org=Non-Profit
Currency
  • Is the information outdated or up to date?
  • Can you ascertain content's date of creation?
  • Are the links working?
  • Credible websites will display "last updated" dates; working links indicate the website is being maintained regularly.

Source: University of South Carolina, Upstate Library

 

 

Citing Your Sources

Need Help?

Lalitha Nataraj

Librarian for American Indian Studies / Anthropology / Environmental Studies / Ethnic Studies / Global Studies / Political Science
Lalitha Nataraj
lnataraj@csusm.edu
760-750-4070
Office Location: 
KEL3427
Office Hours: 
By appointment

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