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STEAM / STEM Library Immersion Programs

This guide is to be used with the WCC STEM Scholars along with their Library Research visits

2021 Research Instruction Lunch & Learn

tree in broken glass environment

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

Welcome to the STEAM Research Guide. This guide is to assist students who are taking courses in the arts and sciences. It will also help other students, faculty, or staff doing research in the areas of STEAM or Education.

Use the tabs to find the information you need to start researching. You can find help on journal articles, finding books in the library, and how to cite your sources.

If you have any questions or would like personal help doing your research, use the contact information on the right of the page. One-on-one consultations are available for students, faculty, and staff.

Peer-Review Process

What is a peer-reviewed article?

Peer review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help editors determine whether a manuscript should be published in their journal.

Source: BioMedCentral. (n/a). Peer review process.

Peer-review process for publication in a journal:

Source: Scientific Forefront Journal. (n/a). Publication process.

What is a Scholarly Article?

Structure of a Peer-Reviewed Article

Once you identify a great article, look for the following

  • An abstract at the beginning of the article -- summary of the researchers/authors argument, approach and conclusion
  • Author(s) -- scholarly articles usually have two or more authors -- author credentials and affiliations are listed on first page or last page of article
  • Specialized Headings/Sections in the article -- include:
    • Introduction -- One to several paragraphs describing the subject content of the article. Sometimes this section is called Background. This section usually includes the literature review of previous studies related to the same topic.
    • Methodology --  This section will provide information about what data was collected and who participated in the study.
    • Results -- This section will provide information about the results of the study.
    • Discussion - The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of research study and provide any new insights from the research.
    • Conclusion -- this section will provide the findings of the research and any recommendations and limitations of the study.
    • References or bibliography -- an extensive list of references used in the research of the article is provided at the end of the article.

Note: The structure and format of peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts (articles) are changing. You might find peer-reviewed articles without a separate literature review and conclusion sections. These sections will be part of the introduction and discussion sections. 

How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Article

Source: (2019). How I read a scholarly article. University of Illinois Undergraduate Library

How to Read a Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Article

1. Read the abstract

An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion - Many articles do not include a section header for conclusion - Go to discussion 

This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction

This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph

These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article

Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

To review: Abstract → Conclusion (and Discussion) → Introduction → Topic Sentences → Entire Article

Types of Scholarly Articles

Source: (2011). Types of scholarly articles. VCU Libraries. 

Scholarly articles (published in print and/or online scholarly journals) are reviewed by experts in a process known as peer review before they are published. They are written for other scholars or experts.

Here is a list of different types of scholarly articles.

  • original research (empirical) article
    • based on an experiment or study. This type of article will have a methodology section that tells how the experiment was set up and conducted, a results or discussion section, and usually a conclusion section. In psychology courses, you are often asked to find empirical articles. Empirical articles are original research articles.
  • review article (literature review or systematic review or meta-analysis)
    • written to bring together and summarize the results/conclusions from multiple original research articles/studies. This types of article will not usually have a methodology section, and they generally have very extensive bibliographies.
  • theoretical article
    • written to contribute to the theoretical foundations of a field of study. In this type of article, an author will draw upon existing research to form a new theory or explore theories in new ways.

Other content you may find in scholarly journals:

  • book review
    • while written by scholars, book reviews in scholarly journals are meant to provide a summary of a newly published book. Book reviews can lead to the discovery of new sources to investigate.
  • editorial
    • while written by editors of scholarly journals, these articles are summaries of content included in a specific issue of a journal. Editorials can lead to the discovery of new sources to investigate.

Source: (2020). Types of scholarly articles. UC Merced Library.

Open Source Journals