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Astronomy: Scholarly & Popular Articles

This guide is designed to help students in ASTR 1 with their research project on exoplanets

Types of Articles

Scholarly Journal Articles Popular Articles

Many scholarly articles are published in journals. These articles report on the findings of a research study, such as an experiment, survey, focus group, or film, literary, or legal analysis, etc. Use scholarly articles when you need the results of a study.

Scholarly journal articles are long and are written by experts for other experts. The researchers aren't paid to produce this type of article, and they are usually reviewed by peers, also for free, in similar fields. These types of articles usually have references / citations.


Cover of the journal Growth and Change"Town Versus Gown: The Effect of a College on Housing Prices and the Tax Base" from Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy

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Cover of the journal College Literature"Rags to Riches to Suicide: Unhappy Narratives of Upward Mobility: Martin Eden, Bread Givers, Delia's Song, and Hunger of Memory" from the journal College Literature

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Popular articles include those from newspapers and magazines, which focus on current events and human interest stories. Use news and magazines when you need social commentary or information about current events. They will sometimes also report about a research study, but you need to refer back to the study to get more detailed information.

Popular articles are short and are written for a general audience. They are written by paid journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers, and they are reviewed by paid professional editors. These types of articles rarely have references / citations.


Merced Sun-Star logo

"UC Merced Connect - UC Merced's influence on community growth promoted at regents meeting" from Merced Sun-Star

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Cover of The Nation magazine

"The Gentrification of Higher Ed" from The Nation

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Reading Research Articles

Anatomy of Scholarly Journal Articles

The table below describes the major components of scholarly journal articles in the Sciences and Social Sciences. The majority of articles in these disciplines will have the sections listed below.

Abstract Brief summary of the article, including the research question, methodology, and results.
Introduction Background information about the topic, leading up to why the study was done. May include a brief literature review.
Methods Description of the study procedures, including set-up and how data was collected.
Results/Findings Presentation of the data from the study. This section often includes tables, charts, or other visualizations of the data.
Discussion Analysis of the data and how the study relates to existing knowledge of the topic. The authors evaluate whether their results answer their research question. 
Conclusion The authors wrap up the article by discussion how their study contributes to the research on this topic and outline future  potential research questions or studies. 
References List of resources that the authors consulted when developing their research and subsequently cited in their article.

Scholarly journal articles in the Arts and Humanities may read more like essays. The following sections are generally included in Arts and Humanities scholarly journal articles, although they may not be clearly marked or labeled. 

Abstract A summary of the research provided at the beginning of the article, although sometimes articles do not have an abstract. 
Introduction Provides background information for the topic being studied. The article's thesis will be found in the introduction, and may also include a brief literature review.
Discussion/Conclusion The discussion likely runs through the entire article and is the main component of the article providing analysis, criticism, etc.The conclusion wraps up the article; both sections usually are not labeled. 
Works Cited List of sources cited in the article by the author(s).

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