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POL 210 Research Methods in Political Science: Article Types

Scholary? Peer Reviewed? Professional Literature? What is the Difference?

What is an Academic Journal?

Researchers publish the results of the work in academic journal. Most often the articles report on recent discoveries and research. Some academic journals publish theoretical discussions and article that critically review other scholarly published works. Academic journals are favored as information source because the articles have been revised before being published. Articles are lengthy and complex. These articles are written for scholars and academics.

What is a peer-reviewed article?

Peer reviewed articles are those that have undergone a rigorous vetting process, including a review by a panel of the author/researcher's peers. Such articles are submitted to a journal for publication. The manuscript is then given to other qualified scholars in the same field of study to review. Then the editors of the journal evaluate the reviews and accept or reject the manuscript. If rejected, the author must make revisions, resubmit the manuscript and the review process it repeated. This insures that only the best researched and written articles are published.  

What is professional literature?

Professional literature often appears in trade publications or on trade association websites. Such articles might cover developments in the field, brief reports on research and articles about trends. Most publications will have letters to the editor, opinion pieces and advertisement focused on that particular profession or discipline. They often do not contain original research. 

What is a popular (journalistic) periodical

Newspapers and news magazines are examples of popular periodicals. Typically, these articles are written by journalists, as opposed to the researchers published in scholarly journals and the trade professionals writing in a trade journal. 

Example of Primary Research Article

Primary research is usually first presented in an academic journal. The authors report on the process and results of their primary research. The article is divided into sections and should include; introduction, literature review, methods, and materials, results, conclusions/discussion and references.  Sometimes the sections have slightly different names.  Primary articles tend to be more complex than other types of literature, but the abstract can help give you a general understanding of what will follow in the article. 

Below is an example of a journal article. Please click on image for the full text of the article.



Example of a Review Article

Review articles are another type of article appearing in a scholarly journal. Rather than reporting on original research, as a primary research article, a review article reports on the current state of knowledge about a topic, by presenting recent research about the topic. 

This example of this review article “is to critically trace the evolution of the theoretical and empirical analysis of legislator voting and shirking" .


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