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LIB 111: Expository Writing: Rare and Costly Prosocial Behaviors

1. Journal Title

Frontiers in Psychology is the name of the journal this article is in. We can't tell if it's peer-reviewed or not just by looking at the title, so it's a good practice to Google the title of the journal and the phrase "peer review." Any reputable journal should make it easy for the reader to know if it is peer-reviewed.

2. Authors

Here we have the authors as well as their credentials - usually the institution where they work at the time the article was written. It's important to find this information, so if it's not listed at the top of the article, check at the end, sometimes right above or right below the list of references.

You want to make sure that the fields the authors have experience in are related to what they're writing about. Why are they specifically qualified to be writing this?

3. Abstract

A scholarly, peer-reviewed article will usually have an abstract, like the one we see here, that summarizes the article. Some non-scholarly articles may have abstracts too, so you also need to make sure there are other signs that your article is scholarly.

4. Dates

Another hint that an article has been peer-reviewed is if you see something like this, where separate dates are listed for when the article was first received, when it was revised (not always mentioned), and when it was accepted. The gap in time is a good sign that at least one round of revisions took place, aka it was peer-reviewed.

5. Sections of the Article

Scholarly research articles in the sciences, health sciences, and social sciences will often have sections such as Materials, Methods, Results, and Discussion (some of those sections are combined here).

The Materials and Methods section should be detailed enough that if a different researcher was interested in doing the same study, they should be able to replicate it.

6. Language

The language of most scholarly articles can be challenging to read unless you already have some knowledge in the subject that's being discussed.  These types of articles are meant to be read by other scholars, researchers, and people who are involved in related fields. As a student, you will learn different techniques for engaging with scholarly articles.

7. Figures

The language of most scholarly articles can be challenging to read unless you already have some knowledge in the subject that's being discussed.  These types of articles are meant to be read by other scholars, researchers, and people who are involved in related fields. As a student, you will learn different techniques for engaging with scholarly articles.

8. References

A scholarly article will always have a reference section, sometimes called References, Works Cited, Bibliography, etc. It's important for us to know what the authors are basing their research on, and reading through the works cited can also be useful to you, as a researcher, if you want to find more information on the same (or a similar) topic!

Example: Rare and Costly Prosocial Behaviors are Perceived as Heroic

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