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Sociology: Identifying the Research Method

Types of Scholarly Journal Articles

  • based on an experiment or other study
  • contains a methodology section that tells how the experiment or study was set up and conductedresults or discussion section, & usually a conclusion section
  • also called a primary research or empirical research article
Abstract Brief summary of the article, including research question, methodology and results.
Introduction Background information about the topic, leading up to why this study is being done, and may include a brief literature review.
Methods Description of how the study procedures, 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.

Example

Housework as Non-normative Gender Display Among Lesbians and Gay Men

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  • summarize or synthesize findings from previously published research
  • useful to get up to speed with literature related to a specific topic
  • lead to original research articles
Literature Review Systematic Review Meta-Analysis
a narrative review that describes and discusses the state of the research on a specific topic or theme. a comprehensive review of all relevant studies on a particular topic or question. The systematic review is created by following an explicit methodology for identifying / selecting the studies to include and evaluating their results. the statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies. This is usually but not always presented with a systematic review. 

Example

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families

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Example

Lesbian Women and Household Labor Division: A Systematic Review of Scholarly Research from 2000 to 2015

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Example

A Meta-Analysis of Developmental Outcomes for Children of Same-Sex and Heterosexual Parents

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How Can You Tell If an Article Uses Quantitative or Qualitative Methods?

Read the article's abstract and / or methods section for clues!

Qualitative Quantitative Mixed Methods
"Qualitative methods are ways of collecting data that yield results such as words or pictures. Some of the most common qualitative methods in sociology include field research, intensive interviews, and focus groups" (Blackstone, 2012). "Quantitative methods, on the other hand, result in data that can be represented by and condensed into numbers. Survey research is probably the most common quantitative method in sociology, but methods such as content analysis and interviewing can also be conducted in a way that yields quantitative data" (Blackstone, 2012). a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.

Blackstone, Amy. 2012. Principles of Sociological Inquiry – Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. Saylor Foundation. Retrieved February 25, 2019 (https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/textbooks/principles-of-sociological-inquiry-qualitative-and-quantitative-methods).

How To Read a Scholarly Article

Western Libraries (2:34)

Empirical Studies: Qualitative vs. Quantitative

USU Libraries (5:51)