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Consumer Sciences Research Guide: Finding Articles

Types of Articles

Journals: reports on original research, of interest to subject specialists

Magazines: reports on things of interest to the general population

Newspapers: reports on news items

Journal Articles

Journals are scholarly, reliable information. You still need to evaluate the information, even the best experts make mistakes.

  • Published for scholars, researchers, and experts in the field
  • Authors are named and their expertise is described
  • Articles are long and typically report on research
  • Information sources are attributed and there are often long bibliographies
  • Illustrations included are used to clarify the text

Examples

Reay, Mike. 2010. "Knowledge Distribution, Embodiment, and Insulation." Sociological Theory 28(1):91-107. doi: 10.2307/25746215. (all the examples below come from this article)

  • Author information - Notice the author's address is included to indicate that his is at Swarthmore College
    • Image of author information
  • Note that this article runs from page 91 through 107 so it is 17 pages long.
  • Source information
    • An in-text citation is circled in red
    • Beginning of the bibliography is circled in blue
    • image of in-text citation and bibliography
  • There are no illustrations including tables or charts in this article

Peer Reviewed Journals

Peer reviewed journals are a special class - they are the creme de la creme of information sources.

What does peer review mean?

Articles submitted to a journal.

The journal send the articles out to 1 to 3 experts in the field without identifying the author.

The experts review the article and send it back to the journal with recommendations for improvements or approval.

The article is sent back to the author with the recommendations and a tentative approval or rejection of the article. The reviewers remain anonymous.

If improvements are made and there was a tentative approval, the article is resubmitted and published.

In other words, the information is vetted by experts before it is even published.

Most databases allow you to limit your results by peer-reviewed journals.

Magazine Articles

  • Published for entertainment
  • Authors may be identified but not always
    • They are often journalists and expert in reporting but not in the fields they report on
  • Articles are usually short
  • Sources are not cited
  • Illustrations are included for entertainment and advertising

Example

Keller, A. G. 1916. "Sociology and Science." Nation 102(2653):475-78. (all examples below come from this article)
 

  • Author identified but there is no information on his or her expertise in the area
    • Magazine author info
  • Note that this article is only 4 pages long
  • There is no bibliography
    • image of the end of a magazine article
  • This magazine does not have a lot of illustrations but it is unusual in this regard
    • Think of People Magazine, Car and Driver, Time, or Newsweek for more typical examples

Newspaper Articles

  • Authors may be acknowledged but often are not
    • Authors are journalists who are experts in reporting but often not in the topics on which they are reporting
  • Short articles
    • Often just a few column inches
  • Focused on news topics - either events or human interest
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