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Sociology Databases

Types of Periodicals


Scholarly Journals

Trade Publications

Popular Magazines



Social Psychology Quarterly

Social Work Today


The New York Times


Primary account of original research (i.e. research papers); In-depth analyses of issues in the field; Articles often include abstract, method, discussion, tables, conclusion, and references/bibliography; May include editorials or commentaries

Current news, trends, or products in an industry or professional organization; Statistics, forecasts, employment and career information; Ads

Current events and news; General information with purpose to entertain or inform; Analyses of popular culture; Secondary account of someone else's research that may include opinion; Ads

Current events and news that may be local, regional, national or international; Editorials; Primary source for information on recent events; Ads


Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Practitioners and professionals

General public

General public


Academic, specialized jargon that uses the language of the discipline; Requires some relevant expertise

Specialized jargon or terminology of the field

Easily understandable, non-technical language

Easily understandable, non-technical language


Researchers, scholars, professors, etc. Unpaid.

Practitioners in the field, industry professionals, or journalists with subject expertise. Paid. 

Journalists or staff writers. Paid. 

Journalists or staff writers. Paid.

Editorial Process

Volunteer editorial board and usually peer review

Paid editors

Paid editors

Paid editors; Editorial review may be minimal for breaking news


Always includes references, footnotes, or bibliographies

Sometimes includes references in text or short bibliographies

References are rare

Rarely cite sources in full


Universities, scholarly presses, or academic organizations

Commercial publishers or trade and professional organizations

Commercial publishers

Commercial publishers

Example Databases

JSTOR, Sociological Abstracts

ABI Inform, Business Source Premier

Readers Guide, Academic Search Complete

Newspaper Source Plus, Access NewspaperARCHIVE

What is peer-review?
The rigorous process that articles undergo before they are published. Scholars in the author's field or discipline review and evaluate the article for quality and validity. If lacking, the article may be rejected. Reviewers often offer suggestions for revision as a condition of acceptance. Watch Peer Review in 3 Minutes (NCSU) for more details.


This chart is adapted from Northwestern University's Evaluating Articles page.

Reading for Understanding—All Texts

  1. Read your text straight through. Next to each paragraph, write a number between 0 and 3 to indicate your level of understanding, with 0 meaning you do not understand it at all and 3 meaning you feel very confident that you fully understand the meaning of the paragraph.
  2. Go back and reread the article, focusing on paragraphs that you gave less than a 3. Would you change your ratings after a second time through?
  3. For those paragraphs that are still a 0 or 1, what would help you understand them?
    1. Is there a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary? If so, underline the unfamiliar words and look up their meanings.
    2. What do you know already about the topic in the paragraph? Does thinking about this help you understand the content better?
    3. What do you know about the genre type? For example, is it a scholarly article? If so, does it follow a typical format with a literature review, methodology, results, and discussion? If so, can you understand what is most important by rereading certain sections of the article?
    4. Under what context was this text written? Think about who, what, where, and why. Does this help you understand the text any better, or does it reveal things you need to find out in order to understand it?

adapted from Broussard, Mary Snyder. Reading, Research, and Writing: Teaching Information Literacy with Process-Based Research Assignments. Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017, p. 82.

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