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Literature Reviews: Finding Reviews & Articles

Provides research tips for conducting a literature review.

Scholarly Article Types in Social Sciences


Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles in social sciences feature original research by experts to expand the field of study. Peer-reviewed articles:

  • Undergo a process of peer review where other experts who work in the same field evaluate the methodology and evidence presented in the article.
  • Are aimed at scholars, researchers, students, and others looking for a deeper understanding of issues.
  • Are published in journals by universities, professional associations, or academic publishers.
  • Usually consist of 6 or more pages.
  • Always include citations and bibliographies.

► Further clues lie in the article type:

  • Empirical articles feature research based on direct or indirect observed and measured phenomena. 
    • These articles will report using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods to analyze and interpret data.
    • Empirical articles will have specific sections that should generally include an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology and/or results section, discussion section, conclusion, and bibliographic references.
  • Theoretical articles will analyze and make connections between empirical studies to advance a theoretical position and include bibliographic references.
  • Review articles (i.e. articles from Annual Review of Sociology) cover major advancements in a field (such as theoretical and/or methodological developments) as well as current research in subfields. These articles summarize available literature and include bibliographic references.

Annual Reviews

Annual Reviews seeks out specific scholars to write review articles to highlight scholarly developments in the sciences & social sciences.

Multidisciplinary Databases

Reference & Instruction Department

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