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SOC 4250 Social Movements: Research Guide

Sociology Databases

How to Read a Scholarly Article

How To Read a Scholarly Article

This PDF gives a quick breakdown on how to read a scholarly article to assess if it might be useful for your research.

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Dusty Ross

Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

Now that you’ve found sources, you’ll need to evaluate them before committing to them, but this doesn’t have to be time consuming. Just ask yourself two questions: Is this source trustworthy? And is this source suitable? Not every suitable source is trustworthy, and not every trustworthy source is suitable.

Determining Suitability
Consider the following: will this source help me answer the research questions that I am posing in my project? Will it help me learn as much as I can about my topic? Will it help me write an interesting, convincing essay for my readers? 

Determining Trustworthiness (or Credibility)
Trustworthiness of sources may not be as easy to determine, especially if you’re in a hurry, aren’t paying attention, or haven’t checked your own biases at the door. Pay attention to things like:

  • When the source was published or last updated - look for the most recent research on your topic but depending on the topic, it could be fine to use older material.
  • The degree of bias in the source - is the author making an attempt to stay objective and include various points of view or are they pushing a point of view for other reasons?
  • Whether or not the author supports what they’re saying with evidence - if the author is making lots of claims without citing them, consider looking for something else. (Source)

Evaluating Sources for Credibility Video (3:14)

How to Use Boolean Operators

This infographic is from the property of Prince George Community College (link opens in a new window). The guide also discusses nesting and the use of quotation marks.

MIT has some great info on boolean operators, truncation, and wildcards: MIT LibGuide (link opens in a new window)

Sources

What Do You Mean, "Sources?"

Sources are artifacts of information you'll use as evidence to support whatever you're writing about. Good researchers will consult and use a variety of sources - primary, secondary, popular, and scholarly sources. The following videos explain more about the most common types.

Primary and Secondary Sources (1:43)

Popular and Scholarly Sources (2:55)

How to Use Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

You can preform a Google Scholar search directly from this LibGuide. Feel free to check out the Google Scholar Handout for additional information on making the most of a Google Scholar search.