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Scholarly Articles

This guide describes what scholarly articles are and provides advice on finding, reading, and evaluating them.

Article Scavenger Hunt

The questions below can help you understand a scholarly article as well as evaluate it (something we'll visit shortly). Consider using this or something like it to guide your reading. This is available as a handout on the next page!

Introduction / Literature Review

  • Why did they conduct the study? Usually in Lit Review or Introduction
  • What gaps in the research are the authors trying to fill? This may be a similar answer to why they conducted the study
  • What are the groundbreaking research studies in this area? You’ll find full details in the References

Methods

  • How was the study designed? Interviews? Survey? Mixed methods? Analyzing existing data or research? Is this a research study or something else?
  • Who participated in the research (subjects)?
  • What were the researchers trying to find out? Look in Lit Review/Intro/Methods
  • What steps did they take to reduce errors and bias during the study?
  • When was the research conducted? When was the data collected?
  • Where was the research conducted? Geography/location can provide context

Results / Findings

  • What evidence is presented?
  • Where can these results be applied? Use your judgment

Discussion

  • How does this study reinforce or challenge other research in the same area? Here or Conclusion- might have to review Lit Review for existing research details
  • What study limitations are the authors aware of? What limitations do you see? Sometimes there's a "Limitations" section

Conclusion

  • What do the researchers recommend as “next steps”? Usually in the form of “further research is needed… “
  • How are the researchers' conclusions supported by their evidence? Are they supported or are their conclusions unsupported?

References / Works Cited

  • Who else has researched this topic? Are there “groundbreaking” articles you should explore? They should be mentioned in the lit review and fully cited in the References.
  • Are the references well-rounded? Examples of possible red flags: only citing studies from a single journal or only including references from authors who wrote the current study.