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Research Guide: Feminist Studies

Feminist Studies

There are many types of background materials: encyclopedias (both general and subject specific), handbooks, and bibliographies.Why uses a background source? It can save you time by helping you with the groundwork below.


  • Get an overvieof a new or complex topic.
  • Find out the names of key players in a given area.
  • Locate terms that you can use in your research.
  • Help narrow (or expand) your topic.
  • Locate a bibliography of sources to help you start your research.
WorldCat@SU is the library's catalog. You can search for books, articles, videos, and other items at Smith Library Center and libraries worldwide.


Scholarly vs. Popular


To find scholarly articles in a library database:

Original Research Articles

Research articles, empirical, research primary research, are based on original research. If you need to limit your sources to research articles, you must be able to tell the difference. Most research articles will contain the following:


A summary of the article. (Note: Abstracts appear in reviews or secondary articles as well.)


Sometimes called "methodology" or "materials and methods," this section describes the author's research methods and tools: experiment, survey, data sources, etc.


Also called "findings," this is the section of the article in which raw data are presented.


Sometimes called "analysis," this is the section in which the author analyzes the data.


The author's conclusions based on the analysis.


List of references to works cited in the article.

These standard parts of a research article may not always be labeled, and sometimes they are combined (for example, "Data and Methods"). Still, every research article indicates what methods and tools were used to conduct the research, what the results were, and how the author interprets those results.

Other Types of Articles

Not every article in a scholarly journal contains research or analysis. Scholarly journals may also include:

  • Literature reviews - often reviews original research
  • Book reviews
  • Meta-Analysis or systematic reviews - analysis of original research 
  • Editorials or commentaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Conference reports

These are not original or primary research articles.