Basic Research for Honors Students
If you have been admitted to SUNY Oswego into the Honors program you are presumed to already know some things that other First Year students are presumed to not know. Because of that, you will not take some of the courses, such as ENG 102, in which we teach students how to do library research using the resources available at Oswego. To help fill the gaps you may possibly experience, this guide offers resources and material that you have missed for your review.
The Research Process
Discover and Use Scholarly Articles
Scholarly publications are written by scholars for other scholars, and are selected and edited for publication by scholars--usually all in the same field of study or community of practice.
Use library databases to find scholarly articles that can help you with your research question. Try to use the databases that include the scholarly journals for your discipline, You will find them listed on the Research Guide for the discipline.
In many of our databases, results may be marked and/or filtered as "Scholarly," "Academic," or "Peer Reviewed." Most but not all of these articles will meet the standards of research that you will need for a particular project. You will need to judge for yourself if any one article meets the relevant standards. This will be difficult at first but you will become a better judge as you gain experience with the scholarly work in your field.
Common features of a scholarly journal article include:
- Limited use of illustrations, color and graphic elements. Most of the pages are straight text except for graphs or illustrations that are pertinent to the text.
- Vocabulary and style: Since scholarly articles address specific audiences, just about everything in the writing of them is specific to that audience. The authors will use special terminology and phrases that are familiar to their primary audience but not necessarily to a more general audience.
- Use of headings: In publications for general audiences variations in the text such as headings are used mainly to sustain the reader's interest in the text. In science and social science journals, headings mark formal, prescribed sections of the text dedicated to particular purposes, allowing readers to jump quickly to the section that interests them the most at the time. In the humanities, headings will most often be used as markers for the organization of the article or argument being presented.
- References and citations: Scholarship always builds on previous knowledge, so scholarly writing will always have citations. In some ways, citations are a virtual currency for scholars. Who gets cited and the citation style will both address the specific audience.
- Tells the story of a research project--not just the results and conclusions: A scholar, like any other author who wants to maintain credibility, will always tell how they know what they claim to know, and not just the what. In the sciences and social/ behavioral sciences, the authors will use sections for methodology, research design, and results to tell their stories. In the humanities, the body of most articles is the author's recounting the analysis and thought processes they undertook to arrive at their conclusions.