Skip to Main Content


A curated guide for sociology students

Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Articles

What are Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Articles? 

You will often be asked to use scholarly, peer-reviewed, or academic articles in your research. These types of articles are written by professionals who are working in different fields, including many of the professors you are taking classes from at Fresno State. They often present original research or analysis and are reviewed by other professionals in the field ("peer review") before they are published in scholarly journals. You can find scholarly articles using the library's OneSearch tool or going into specific databases that the library subscribes to. You can also find these types of articles using Google Scholar.

The table below shows you how articles from scholarly journals compare to the popular magazine articles that you are probably more familiar with. 

Type of Source
Popular magazines
Scholarly Journals
General public; use language understood by the average reader For students, scholars, researchers; use specialized language of a discipline
News items, feature stories, editorials and opinion pieces Original research, theory; may include an abstract
Visual, lots of advertising, color, photos, short articles with no bibliographies or references Little or no advertising, lengthy articles, charts and tables, bibliographies & references
May or may not be named, frequently a staff writer, not a subject expert Authors are specialists, articles are signed, credentials such as degrees and university affiliation are given.
News, general information or entertainment, opinion To disseminate research findings, publicize current topics in the field and professional issue

The Peer-Review Process

The video below is a great introduction to what makes scholarly, peer-reviewed articles unique and how you can identify them. 

Using OneSearch to Find Articles

Using OneSearch to Find Articles

1. Start on the library homepage, and in the OneSearch box, enter the keywords for your topic and click Articles. 
Hint: Keep your keywords simple and avoid any unnecessary language (e.g. and, the, of, about, effects, influence, etc...). A quick search on Wikipedia can often help you find search terms that you can use to look for articles. Make a list of synonyms and related terms and use those in your search. 

2. The next page will display your results.  On the left side of the screen, click the option for Peer Reviewed Journals.  Articles with full text will display an "online full text available" link. Articles without full text can be requested through Interlibrary Loan. 

Using Databases

Why Use Databases?

While OneSearch does look through our databases, it can return an overwhelming amount of information. Starting your research with a database can be helpful for researchers looking specifically for articles and journal access because they are specialized, naturally narrowing your results.

Sociological Abstracts [Proquest]

Sociological Abstracts is an index to the latest research sponsored in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, including anthropology, criminology, demography, education, law, penology, race relations, social psychology, and urban studies. The database draws information from an international selection of over 2,600 journals and other serials publications, plus conference papers, books, and dissertations. Records added after 1974 contain in-depth and nonevaluative abstracts of journal articles.

Academic Search Ultimate [EBSCO]

An excellent starting point for any topic, Academic Search Ultimate contains nearly 13,000 full-text academic journals, magazines, and newspapers. Content covers all subject areas with material from 1887 to the present.

PsycInfo (APA PsycInfo) [EBSCO]

This database contains more than one million citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books, dissertations and technical reports, all in the field of psychology.

Additional databases can by clicking the link below, or the "Sociology Databases" quick link found on every page of this guide

Google Scholar

Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar is also a great tool for finding scholarly content, including journal articles. If you aren't on the Fresno State campus, the first thing you will need to do is to change your settings in Google Scholar to link to the library's holdings information (so you can find out if and where we have it and how to get the full text). If you just click on the title of an article in Google Scholar, you will most likely be asked to purchase the article. 

1. First, click on the "Settings" link in Google Scholar

2. Then, click on "Library Links." 

3. Next, search for "Fresno State" and check the box next to "CSU Fresno - Find it at Fresno State" and click "Save." 

4. Now, when you do a search in Google Scholar, you will see an extra link either below or to the right of the article citation (you may need to click on "More" to see it). 

5. The Find it @ Fresno State page tells you where to access the full text if we have it or will link you to interlibrary loan to request it (may take up to 2 weeks, but most arrive much quicker). Keep in mind that most of the library's articles are available electronically through the databases but there are some that are in print or microfilm. Stop by the Research Help Desk on the first floor of the library if you need help finding these articles.

Popular Sociology Journals