Journal Article Tutorial
This tutorial is accompanied by a short quiz.
To take the quiz:
- Click on the Take Quiz link at the end of the tutorial.
- Please make sure to fill out the top portion of the quiz form completely.
- When you have finished the quiz, click on the submit button.
- After you have clicked on the submit button, a confirmation page will appear with your score for this quiz. You will also receive an e-mail confirmation. Keep this e-mail and show it to your instructor as proof that you took the tutorial.
Please note: AOL e-mail users may have difficulty receiving confirmation e-mails. Students should consider using their AVC e-mail address for these tutorials.
Images used by permission of EBSCO Publishing
This tutorial will introduce you to scholarly journals and scholarly journal articles. First, however, it is important to know a little about the class of materials to which journals belong: periodicals.
- You may have heard a librarian or your instructor use the word periodical and wondered just what they were talking about.
- Very simply, a periodical is a publication that comes out on a regular recurring basis, e.g. once a year, once a month, twice a year, three times a year, 12 times a year, etc..
- Newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals are all examples of periodicals.
All periodicals, however, are not the same. Some are published for the general public (magazines) , while others are intended for a scholarly audience (scholarly journals) . For example:
Magazines are general interest publications.
The author of the article may not be identified.
Usually, no list of references is provided at the end of the article
Usually articles are non-technical in nature.
National Geographic and People are examples of magazines.
Scholarly Journals are specialized publications for experts in different fields of academic and/or professional study.
The articles always have one or more authors.
A list of references can be found at the end of the article.
Many articles are technical and intended for specialists.
Journal of Marriage and the Family is an example of a scholarly journal.
About Scholarly Journal Articles
This tutorial is designed to help you recognize and understand the various sections found within such a scholarly journal article.
Journal articles are one of the most important ways scholars communicate. Articles in scholarly journals must be approved by a board of subject experts before they can be published. This is called peer review.
Unlike many magazine articles, scholarly journal articles include the name of the author, the author's affiliation (university, company, etc.), and a list of references at the end of the article. You know exactly who wrote the article, and his/her qualifications.
Scholarly journals are currently found in three formats in the Antelope Valley College Library: print, microfiche, and electronic.
Print and microfiche versions are located at the Circulation Desk and must be requested by title and issue date. (For more information about these, please consult the Reference Librarian.)
Parts of a Journal Article
In the following tutorial you will see examples of the various parts of a journal article. The images were taken from EBSCOhost, a collection of electronic periodical databases.
Scholarly articles are generally divided into distinct sections. These sections describe different aspects of the research process.
The sample article in this tutorial is typical of a research article in the social sciences.
The example below shows the basic elements of a journal article citation: title , author, and source (journal name, publication date, etc.).
The abstract on the full record screen will give you several clues and information about the study being described in the article. It may use many of the key terms that identify parts of a published study: method/methodology, study, results, conclusion, and provide a synopsis of what the study is about.
After you read the abstract, you can decide whether this is a study you need for your research assignment or not.
In EBSCOhost, an author's affiliations (where they received their education, university where the author or authors teach, institutions they are affiliated with, or other information) are listed below the abstract.
Knowing where the authors teach or work is important. If the authors are professors at a university, or work at some other type of research institution, they are experts in their fields. This is your best assurance that the material you are reading is reliable.
At the beginning of a scholarly article the authors will explain their reasons for doing the research study. This is called the introductory text or introduction.
Review of the Literature
Within a few paragraphs you will see numerous references to other researchers' names. These are references to previous studies closely related to the authors' research, as shown in the example below.
Method or Methodology
The method or methodology section of the article describes how the authors conducted their research. If surveys, experiments, interviews, tests, etc. were used in this study, they are described here.
This is a very important section of the paper. It tells you how the authors gathered the data on which they based their conclusions.
The results section displays the raw data that was created by the activities described in the methods section. This data can be represented in the form of graphs, statistics, charts, etc. The data is used to support the ideas or hypotheses of the authors.
In the discussion section the authors evaluate and comment on the data they have gathered. This section is often the easiest to understand – do not skip it.
This section, often called Conclusions or Recommendations, presents the authors’ final statements concerning their work in this particular study. Here the authors discuss what their research means, and how it affects their particular field of study.
All of the articles referenced in this study are listed here. This can be a very good source of information if you are looking for additional research on your topic.
Don’t forget to look at the list of references. The perfect article might just be listed there!
Congratulations! You have finished the Journal Tutorial.
If you have any further questions regarding finding and identifying journal articles, please see the Reference Librarian.