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Sociology Resources: Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Library book and periodical article resources on Sociology, including hard copy books and online databases.

What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.
 --University of Texas at Austin

Databases with Peer-reviewed Journals

  • EBSCO - search the top four selected databases (Academic Search Premier, MasterFILE, Academic Search Main and MainFile).  These have most of the social science journals. See the list above for some sociology titles.
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  • JSTOR - (best option) - this database has 221 sociology journals and is a great place to find peer-reviewed sociology content.  See the 4 steps below on how to search JSTOR. Use quotes around phrases to force a phrase search (example "united states.")

Step One (select Advanced Search):

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Step Two (enter search terms, select Item Type - Articles):

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Step Three (scroll down page and select Journal Filter/Discipline):

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Step Four - Result List/Article Selection:

How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

Tips for Reading a Research Article

Read the Abstract. It consists of a brief summary of the research questions and methods. It may also state the findings. Because it is short and often written in dense psychological language, you may need to read it a couple of times. Try to restate the abstract in your own nontechnical language.

  1. Read the Introduction. This is the beginning of the article, appearing first after the Abstract. This contains information about the authors' interest in the research, why they chose the topic, their hypothesis, and methods. This part also sets out the operational definitions of variables.
  2. Read the Discussion section. Skip over the Methods section for the time being. The Discussion section will explain the main findings in great detail and discuss any methodological problems or flaws that the researchers discovered.
  3. Read the Methods section. Now that you know the results and what the researchers claim the results mean, you are prepared to read about the Methods. This section explains the type of research and the techniques and assessment instruments used. If the research utilized self-reports and questionnaires, the questions and statements used may be set out either in this section or in an appendix that appears at the end of the report.
  4. Read the Results section. This is the most technically challenging part of a research report. But you already know the findings (from reading about them in the Discussion section). This section explains the statistical analyses that led the authors to their conclusions.
  5. Read the Conclusion. The last section of the report (before any appendices) summarizes the findings, but, more important for social research, it sets out what the researchers think is the value of their research for real-life application and for public policy. This section often contains suggestions for future research, including issues that the researchers became aware of in the course of the study.

Modified from Net Lab