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Social Services: Journal Research Article or Paper

This guide assists students in finding information resources for Social Services.

Journal Research Article Assignment

This tab is designed to help you locate an article for the Journal Research Article assignment. The description of the assignment may look something like this:

Locate a research article in a recently (2010-2019) published professional social welfare journal. Editorials, opinion pieces, literature reviews, summaries of "what we know" and overviews are not "research" articles. A research article presents original findings from the authors' own research study, and will usually include a literature review on the topic, a hypothesis or research question, a description of the methods used to conduct the study, the findings (often in statistical form with tables and graphs), and a discussion of the meaning of the findings. If several of these items are missing, it probably isn't a research article. If your article is not a "research article" and your source is not a professional journal, your paper may not be graded or, if graded, will not earn full points on this assignment.

A professional journal is peer-reviewed by other professionals in that field. Some examples of professional journals are Society, Social Work, Social Policy, Social Problems, American Sociological Review, Child Welfare, Families in Society, Journal of Drug Issues, Journal of Family Violence, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, The Gerontologist, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and American Journal of Sociology. Popular magazines, newspapers, and websites are not professional journals.

Journals - Scholarly, Popular or Trade?

Different types of publications have different purposes and different audiences. When we talk about journals, we can usually divide these publications into three broad categories: scholarly, popular, and trade publications.


Purpose Informs and reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field. Entertains and informs a general audience without providing in-depth analysis. Reports on industry trends and new products or techniques useful to people in a trade or business.
Authors Articles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field. Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff. Articles are written by specialists in a certain field or industry.
Audience Intended for a limited audience - researchers, scholars, and experts. Intended for a broad segment of the population, appealing to non-specialists. Intended for practitioners in a particular profession, business, or industry.