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Political Science: How to evaluating Journal Articles

Subject Guide for political science

General Structure of Scholarly Articles

For the convenience of readers, scholarly articles written within many STEM fields have evolved to follow an IMRAD format (or something close to it).

Publications that are used to inform the study are provided in the references or works cited at the end of the article.



Background, rationale, and purpose of article.



Study design, measurement instruments, and rationale of their use.



Describes the outcomes of the study without repeating the methodology.



Some publications analyze the results of a method used.



Presents the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the study;
Explains how results support (or refute) previous research;
Considers theoretical implications of the results;
Provides conclusions of the study.

Popular Periodicals versus Scholarly Publications

Popular Publications versus Scholarly Journals
(3:30 Webcast) Learn about the main differences between popular publications (Time, Rolling Stone) and scholarly journals (Nature, American Journal of Physical Anthropology).

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals

Scholarly journals have articles written by researchers who are considered experts in a field. These journals are also known as "peer-reviewed," "refereed" or "academic" journals.  American School Board Journal is a scholarly journal.

Popular magazines have articles written by writers or journalists. Time and Newsweek are examples of popular journals.

Need help? Click here.

How to Read a Journal Article

Click here for a short article on how to effectively

  • read,
  • skim,
  • evaluate and
  • find information in articles!

Evaluating Journals