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GEL 101 Library Module - PASO

5. Evaluating Scholarly Articles Using VQE

In the previous section we learned about how to evaluate sources using VQE and practiced applying it to sources we find online. Now let's learn how to use VQE to help us identify scholarly articles. 

To get started, think about:

Visual: How is the scholarly article different from the web articles encountered in the previous lesson? What are the visual differences?

Quality: What do you know about the quality of the article?

Ethos: Why does this article exist?

But first, let's watch a quick video that introduces us to scholarly articles. 

What is a Scholarly Article? from Kimbel Library on Vimeo.

Next: Click on the "Activity - Reading scholarly articles" tab.

Now, you're going to actually read a scholarly article. Follow these steps:

  1. Download "Movin' on up (to College): First-Generation College Students' Experiences With Family Achievement Guilt" from the library website. (You might have to log in with your CSUSM ID/password.)
     
  2. Read the article and take notes while you read. Answer the following questions:
    1. Who are the authors? (What is their expertise, where do they work?)
    2. What did the authors want to learn? (In other words, what was their research question?)
    3. How did the authors try to answer their question? (What were their methods?)
    4. What did the authors learn? (What were their results?)
    5. Why is what they learned important? (This might be in the discussion and/or conclusion.)
       
  3. Be ready to discuss the article during your zoom session with the librarian. 

Next: Click on the "Using VQE to identify scholarly articles" tab. 

For your GEL research assignment and for your other classes, your professors will expect you to be able to determine whether something is a scholarly article or not.

VQE can help you with this! As you try to figure out whether or not something is scholarly or not in your future research, you can ask yourself:

  • What do you identify as the VISUAL clues that would help you decide if an article is scholarly?
  • What do you know about the QUALITY of scholarly articles?
  • What do we know about the ETHOS of scholarly articles? 

Here are some things you might look for when you encounter an article and want to see if it's scholarly or not. 

 VISUAL   QUALITY  ETHOS
  • Length of article (typically 5-20 pages)
  • List of references at the end
  • Charts and graphs
  • Has an abstract
  • No advertisements
  • Some articles may say ‘research article’ at the top
  • Author(s) are experts - their education/expertise matches the topic they are talking about
  • Credentials show they work for an institution; college/university/research institute
  • Author credentials are within the discipline they are researching and publishing in
  • Journal is peer reviewed before publication (you might have to search online to find this)
  • Cites other work used in their research
  • The purpose of the article -- should be to inform
  • Who the article written for -- mainly for other experts in the field, but also for students/scholars
  • If there is an indication of bias
  • Some journals provide a statement of interest.  This can help determine if there is a conflict of interest.

Next: Click on the "Review" tab.

Now that you’ve read, evaluated, and analyzed a scholarly article you are more familiar with how to engage with scholars and their research. As students-scholars in the making you will also learn to build off this research and create new knowledge.

With these newly developed skills you will be working on coming up with a research question which will be the basis for searching the databases for scholarly articles.

You're finished with this lesson -- be prepared to discuss what you learned and bring any questions to the zoom session with your librarian.