This assignment is designed to give students an opportunity to read about the broad scope of the kinds of research being done in their field/discipline (Economics, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, or Interdiscipinary Social Sciences). An audit of multiple issues of a key peer-reviewed journal in their selected field will allow students to 1) identify reoccurring and important questions and topics in their field and 2) identify topics and questions that they find particularly interesting and may want to pursue in the future.
There are multiple steps involved in this assignment:
Students will receive a list of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals in the disciplines. With the professor’s guidance, choose ONE journal in your discipline. You will be using the journal website (easiest) or the library databases (JSTOR, EBSCO, etc.) (a bit more complicated) to conduct your audit, so find the journal you’ve selected in either place.
The ‘volume’ is unique to a particular year. If a journal started publishing in 1987, any issues of the journal published that year will be listed as Volume 1. There are typically 3-5 ‘issues’ of a journal published in a given year. Within a journal issue, there are different sections, including editor’s note, research articles, book reviews, response articles, obituaries, etc. For this assignment you focus only on the RESEARCH ARTICLES published in each issue. You don’t need to read the articles, you just need to compile and analyze things like titles, abstracts, and key words.
You must find: three (3) research articles in two issues in each of five volumes (years): 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. This means you will ultimately compile a list of 30 citations (3 articles x 2 issues x 5 years). Create an Excel spreadsheet with sufficient columns and rows to create separate cells for
Journal name, volume, issue, year (and month, if listed).
Name/s of authors
Title of the research article
Published abstract of the research article
Key words provided for the research article, or at least 4 key words that you must glean from the abstract if the journal does not list them at the end of the abstract. Key words may relate to the kind of methodology used for the research, the part of the world, institution, or community studied, the theoretical ideas being asserted or tested, and/or the social phenomena in focus (poverty alleviation, plastic surgery, medical care, etc.)
As a separate MS Word document, to be submitted along with the Excel spreadsheet, students will prepare a 2-page reflection on their journal audit. In this assessment, students must do the following:
Analyze and describe RECURRING THEMES in terms of methodologies, topics, theoretical frameworks, or other SIMILARITIES across the 30 articles, based on the titles, abstracts and key words. To some extent you will be able to simply count recurring phrases or words. At the same time, different scholars may use slightly different terms to refer to similar things. Therefore, you should look for both OBVIOUS similarities as well as less obvious similarities across journal articles.
Analyze and describe CHANGES or DIFFERENCES in terms of methodologies, topics, or theoretical frameworks that you observe over the 16 years of your assigned publication. Were there a number of studies on a similar topic, or using a particular methodology, in 2002, that you no longer seem mention of in 2014? Did a particular topic get a lot of scholarly attention in one year and not in any other year? Why does that seem to be the case?
Discuss TWO articles that most piqued your interest and discuss why you found them more interesting than the others you read about.
List 5-10 research concepts, theories, or methodologies from the abstracts or key words that are new to you and/or confusing. This is designed to help you identify gaps in your knowledge about your discipline.
Excel spreadsheet of journal audit: Students will upload their Journal Audit spreadsheets and Reflection papers to the submission portal in Blackboard, each labeled with their own name and the title of the journal they audited. (i.e. HegelCantarellaAmericanEthnologist).
Notes on grading:
This assignment will be graded on 3 elements: 1) completeness and accuracy in spreadsheet data, 2) grammar/spelling accuracy, completeness and thoughtfulness in the reflection paper (addressed all 4 required elements as listed above), and 3) clarity in presentation to your peers.
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