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Sociology Resources: Sociology

Use this library guide to find appropriate sources for your Sociology research projects.

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What are peer-reviewed journals and why should I care?

Peer-reviewed journals, or refereed journals, are more commonly published electronically but these titles are published by and for a particular professional audience to provide current research in a field of work. Therefore, the focus of a peer-reviewed journal is narrow, covering only certain topics. For articles to be published, the author(s) work must meet certain criteria set by the journal and the work must be reviewed by other professionals, or "peers," in the field who agree on the validity of the work. This review process ensures that the article is accurate and relevant to the journal's audience. Peer-reviewed journals can present ground-breaking research and discovery to potentially bring about new and innovative approaches to a profession. 

Peer-reviewed journals differ in several ways from general-audience publications. Below are features you will commonly see in these kind of professional publications: 

Authority: The author(s) credentials are often included to indicate their expertise and knowledge in the field of work. 

Abstract: This is a summary of the article and the main ideas that will be presented, including the methodology and conclusions of the research.  

Specialized language: A peer-reviewed journal will often use specific terminology and technical terminology used in a professional community, assuming that the audience is already knowledgeable with this language. 

Methodology: Peer-reviewed journal articles may provide original research, experiments or studies done in the field. The article will provide background information, an overview of the methods used in the research, results and discussion, and conclusions. 

In-text citations: Other journal articles and sources are frequently referenced within peer-reviewed journals. This is the process of how information is created and how scholarship and knowledge is advanced. 

Supporting Images: Scholarly articles often contain diagrams, charts, graphs, or other visual representations to provide additional documentation of the research presented. 

References: This page is provided at the end of the article to provide a full citation of all sources cited within the text of the paper. 

Volume and Issue: Professional journals typically publish a volume annually, and assign issue number by month or quarter in most cases. The volume and issue of an article are an essential piece of its citation. For example, Volume 5, Issue 2 of a journal would be denoted as 5(2) in the citation. 

Lack of advertising: Peer-reviewed journals may have little or no advertising. The journals rely on the work and contributions of the authors/creators to have content to publish. The journals can be published in different and complex ways, such as through a publisher that makes the content available through a subscription or through open-access journals that allow professionals to view the research at no cost. 

For more information about peer-reviewed, or scholarly articles, view Anatomy of a Research Article by Stephanie Wiegand, University of Northern Colorado. 


Person jumping up into the air in a field

Image by Shad0wfall from Pixabay 

Families and worldImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Sociology and General Research Databases

Search for scholarly information within these library databases for articles that are appropriate to use for your research assignments.

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Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be DELIBERATE or UNINTENTIONAL. Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you MUST acknowledge their source to give the author/creator credit and to respect their intellectual property!

The following situations almost always require citation:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work [also called "fair use" in copyright law], whether you give credit or not 

--excerpt from

For more help understanding plagiarism and citation for research papers, consult the library's Citation Guide.

APA (American Psychological Association) Citation Resources