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TC 302: Visionary Women / Beck

What is scholarship?

What does it mean when someone calls an article scholarly, academic, or peer reviewed?

Who writes these articles?

Experts in their fields. For literary analysis and criticism, that likely means professors and other scholars who research literature. They may, for example, devote their research to a small group of poets, or even one poet. They may be interested in a style or era as well. 

Why do they write in these journals and not in magazines or newspapers or in books?

The most rigorous research happens in these journals. Publishing in these journals assures that your research will be read and cited by experts within your field of study. This research is the most up to date - once research is published here, it can be referenced for a general audience in newspapers or magazines, or it may be referenced in a more comprehensive work, such as a book. Having an article published in a journal is prestigious and may be a factor in getting and keeping one's job at a university. No, authors do not get paid by these publications. 

How do I access these journals?

These journals are very expensive to subscribe to. This university provides access to many, and will borrow from other libraries on your behalf so you have virtually complete access to scholarship. You can search within the databases I recommend and Google Scholar (but use the link to GS that I provide since it links with our subscriptions). 

What is a peer reviewed article?

Breaking down a scholarly article

At about the 7 min mark, the video talks about a strategy for skimming.

How to Read Scholarly Articles

Scholarly Articles can be long and dense, but most scholarly articles have a structure. Once you understand the structure of the texts, they become easier to read and understand.

Components Key Points
  • Short summary of the article includes:
    • the research question being addressed
    • why it is worthwhile to conduct this study
    • how the study was conducted
    • the main findings of the study
  • Discusses main research contributions and knowledge on the topic
  • Positions the author's approach to the topic and identifies their unique contributions ("they say this, I say this")
Methods/ Methodology
  • Identifies approach / instrument used to conduct a study
  • Identifies how the author gathered the data analyzed in the study
  • May discuss limitations of the study
  • Analyzes the data collected or the results of the experiment
  • Includes tables, charts, etc. for data visualization
  • Restates the problem addressed in the paper
  • Summarizes key takeaways from the research
  • Discusses the significance and implications of the research
  • Based upon these findings, suggests new approaches for studying the problem
  • List of research cited in paper

Not all research papers are organized in such a manner, but all research papers provide these components whether they are labeled thus or not.

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