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FOX Psychology Research Guide: Psychology Journal Articles

Resources for doing research in psychology


Core Psychology Databases

Identifying Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Articles

Scholarly articles...

  • Have  a list of references at the end of the text 

  • Often feature an abstract (summary) at the beginning of the article 

  • Always list the author's name

  • Are detailed and are usually several pages long

  • Are many times peer-reviewed (or refereed)

  • Are aimed at scholars in a particular field (biology, history, philosophy, etc.)

  • Example Article: Organic and Conventional Foods: Differences in Nutrients

Popular magazines...

  • Often don't tell you who wrote the article or any of the sources they used

  • Are usually brief and offer only general or superficial coverage of a topic

  • Have lots of ads and are usually printed on glossy paper

  • Are written for a general audience

  • Are often great sources for current, general information on a topic

  • Examples include: Time, Newsweek, National Geographic

Indentifying Research Articles

Look for the following elements in articles you find.  Research articles contain most or all of these sections.  Look in particular for a "methods" section.

  • Abstract: A summary of the article
  • Introduction and statement of the problem
  • Hypothesis
  • Experimental methods & materials
  • Data collection
  • Analysis
  • Conclusions and recommendations for further research
  • List of sources used
  • Author’s institutional affiliation
  • Date of submission, revision, and acceptance

Look also for a scholarly writing style and the use of a very precise, scientific vocabulary.  This is often apparent in the journal's title, which can be lengthy and loaded with pertinent key words. 

Research articles may also include charts, graphs, maps, and other illustrations that visually display data results.