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This guide will assist you in locating published scholarship (books and journal articles) to read on a topic. Choose a topic that is interesting to you and which will work within your assignment's parameters.
First, read a good summary of the topic in a subject encyclopedia, like those listed below. Second, once you have a basic overview of the topic then search for published scholarship, using catalogs to find scholarly books, and databases to find scholarly journal articles.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their content and arguments. When in doubt, check with your Sociology instructor.
What is a scholarly journal article?
A scholarly journal article is written by a scholar or an expert, and provides a detailed analysis of a topic. It is written in the specialized language of a scholarly discipline (such as Philosophy). It documents the resources the writer used by providing bibliographic citations such as footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography so a reader can check or repeat the research the scholar has completed.
A scholarly journal is edited by scholars, and any article published in the journal has usually been approved by the author's peers or by referees (other scholars expert in the subject who serve as editors or readers and critique the article before it is accepted for publication). This is why most scholarly journals are referred to as a Peer-Reviewed or Refereed journals.
USC Libraries has an excellent guide to scholarly, popular, and other sources.
Evaluating Articles and Other Sources
Not sure if an article is a legitimate source? Give it the CRAAP test! Think about its Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. There are a lot of guides to the CRAAP test online: Central Michigan University's is excellent.
Reports, studies, and data are sometimes available from the major scholarly organizations for the study of sociology.