It is important for students of sociology to understand the importance of research as well as the value. To fully comprehend research, sociologists must know how to analyze and evaluate research. This assignment uses a scoring guide. Please review the scoring guide prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion. You are not required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Instructions: Please read the article below and complete each section of the analytic review table. What is a scholarly source? Scholarly books and articles are written by researchers and field-based experts. The article may be empirical (research-based), theoretical (conceptual) or a combination of both research and theory. Peer-reviewed journals contain articles generally written by a scholar associated with a university, research institute, government agency, or reputable nonprofits human service agency. To be accepted into a peer-reviewed journal, the paper goes through a rigorous review process, where other scholars and the journal editorial staff evaluate the merits of the paper prior to publication. A high quality weekly magazines or on-line journal may publish an investigative report.

This type of reporting is not research-based in scope or content, but rather is based on an in-depth analysis of a controversial social issue, generally focusing on historical and/or current events and “case” studies. One drawback to this kind of reporting is that it generally does not include citations in the body of the report or include a list of references. It is also not reviewed by professional or academic peers, although the editor typically requires the piece to be consistent with high standards of investigative reporting. Why read scholarly articles? A good journal article presents you with new, research-based information and/or explores new concepts and ideas to help you expand and deepen your thinking about social issues and problems. A scholarly article helps you to distinguish between opinion and rigorous analysis of a social phenomenon. A single research study does not offer conclusive “proof,” but it can add to a cumulative body of evidence to support or negate ideas about how the world works. What are the main sections of a research study? Abstract—Gives you a summary of information contained in the article.

Introduction—Introduces you to the purpose, scope, and context of the study. Background—Summarizes relevant “literature” or other studies focusing on the topic. Methods—Describes the study design and methods used to collect and analyze data. Results—Delineates specific outcomes related to the investigative question(s). Discussion/Conclusions—Contains the author’s observations about the results. References/Footnotes—Documents sources used in the investigative analysis. What are good strategies to read a scholarly article? Be sure to set aside enough time to read the article and truly understand what the author is saying. Clearly, it will take longer to read a scholarly article than a short opinion piece found on social media! Give yourself enough time to engage with the material. Sometimes, you may need to read and reread a passage. What is the author saying? What methods did the author use to better understand a social issue? What is compelling about the author’s arguments and where does the author fall short? Grappling with these questions will expand your own critical thinking capacity. A good strategy is to first, read the abstract and then skim through the entire paper.

This will give you an overview of the topic and investigative approach. Then, go back and work through the main sections of the paper. Highlight key passages, and write (or type) your own notes or questions in the margins of the paper. Suspend judgement or forming an opinion until you feel you have a good grasp of what the author is trying to communicate. See if you can briefly summarize the overall meaning in your own words. Try to connect ideas or findings contained in this article with other core ideas, theories, or facts with which you are already familiar. Many research articles report statistical findings. Even if you don’t understand this material, you can still get a basic understanding by reading the narrative explanation of the results. How does the author “make sense” of the investigative process and the newly acquired knowledge? Ask yourself: what is the underlying logic of the report?

What practical implications do the study findings have in terms of better understanding a social issue? To complete this assignment, read the following journal article and then use it for the analysis below. “An Exploration of Alienation and Replacement Theories of Social Support in Homelessness,” by Eyrich, fromSocial Work Research(2003). How would you classify the publication source of this article? What is the date of article publication? If a study was conducted, when was the investigation conducted? What are three to six key terms of importance to understanding article content? What social problems) that can be better understood by reading this article? Briefly explain how this article is consistent with the type you selected. Is this a research study where the researchers collect primary data? Is this a conceptual paper, where the author(s) develop and/or expand theoretical concepts? Is this a systematic review, where the authors review and critique studies conducted by other researchers? Is this an essay using investigative reporting on a controversial issue? What were the main investigative question, questions, and/or areas of interest explored by the author(s)? Describe other studies and research, discussed in the introduction or in the literature review section, that support this research study. Looking at the narrative sections of the article (e.g. discussion section, conclusions), what are the main findings/conclusions reported by the author(s)? What importance and/or relevance do these findings/conclusions have in terms of better understanding the social problem identified in this article? Identify two sources included in the list of references you think might be interesting to read. What can these articles potentially contribute to better understanding a specific social problem? Did this article challenge any preexisting ideas or biases you may have had about the social problem explored by the author(s)?

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