Selecting Journal Articles
Where was the article published? Does it come from a scholarly journal published by a university or connected with an organization for researchers?
What is the author's main argument? See the accompanying abstract or skim the first page or two of the article.
What are the author's qualifications? Look at the brief biographical sketch accompanying the article or check the web. What other articles and books has the author published?
When was the article published? Are there more recent articles that may incorporate newer evidence and interpretations?
Reading Journal Articles Critically
How does the author summarize previous scholarship on the questions involved? Thinking about this will add to your understanding of the broader political context.
What disciplinary approach/es does the author take? For example, is the article written from the point of view of international relations or political philosophy? Are there interpretations from additional academic areas, like economics or law, introduced within an article that explores a particular question in political science?
What makes this author's argument significant? What new ideas does this article offer?
What kinds of sources does the author use? What evidence does the author offer to support the argument and how does the author interpret that evidence?
What are the author's conclusions? What concluding ideas does the author draws from the arguments made in the article? Do you find it convincing? Are there questions that were not fully answered?
The databases below allow you to search for journal articles by subject. See the Search Tips tab for examples of ways to develop terminology and construct search statements.
When you find a title of interest, if the full text is not immediately available, use the Find It button to check for your library's access. If the full text is not available, you will be taken to the article delivery form, so that you can request it.
While working with results from database searches, watch for these journals and magazines because they consistently publish quality work.