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How to Read Journal Articles in the Social Sciences


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Challenges of Reading Chapter 2: Trying to Fix Mechanical and Structural Writing Problems with Abstract Tools Chapter 3: Should I even Read This? How to Read the Abstract, General Introduction and Methods Section Chapter 4: So What? How to Read the General Literature Review, Psychology Introductions, and Results Sections Chapter 5: Becoming a Part of the Scholarly Community: How to Read the Discussion and Conclusion Chapter 6: Highlighting and Organizing the ROF, SPL, CPL, GAP, RFW and POC Chapter 7: Will the Reading Code Organization Sheet Work on Non-social Science Texts? Chapter 8: Concluding Remarks

About the Author

Phillip C. Shon received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois (Chicago); he also holds an M.A. in linguistics and a B.A. in philosophy from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago). He is currently a Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology where he teaches courses in homicide and criminological theory. He is the author of How to Read Journal Articles in the Social Sciences (2nd ed.). London: Sage, 2015; Language and Demeanor in Police-Citizen Encounters. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008; Respect, Defense, and Self-Identity: Profiling Parricide in Nineteenth-Century America, 1852-1899. New York: Peter Lang, 2014. He is a co-editor (with Dragan Milovanovic) of Serial Killers: Understanding Lust Murders. (eds). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2006. Phil grew up in Chicago. He no longer hides the shame of being a Cubs fan, and has completely forgotten Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. He is patiently awaiting the Chicago Bears to come up with a sequel to the "Super Bowl Shuffle" before they return once more to the Promised Land.


Shon provides an excellent guide on how to read journal articles. The reading code sheet helps to demystify the role of journal articles as proposals to knowledge and journals as forums for debate. I have used the book over the last five years with my students (many of whom are international and studying in a second language) with great success. The book has helped students to develop their critical thinking, reading and writing skills and when it comes to writing a dissertation they have used the code sheet in their own writing. -- Pete Allison
This is an excellent 'how-to' book on the skill of reading and writing critical literature reviews. Its practical guidance is offered in clear and accessible ways. The Reading Code Sheet developed by Chong Ho Shon is particularly useful when putting this book into practice. I recommend it to both students and colleagues. -- Ian Walmsley
Teachers assume that by the time youngsters reach secondary school age they are competent readers. However, unless they have been trained or have trained themselves to do otherwise, they probably read in the same way they were taught to when they were five years old. This is not an easy read, being aimed at university students... and their lecturers. However, I believe that it could be useful for teachers who despair at their pupils' poor reading habits and/or low retention rates. -- Terry Freedman
The book has the potential to interest students in a very systematic way to read academic articles. Such systems have great benefit for students who do not take easily to reading for academic purposes. Some of the codes could be helpful for most student guidance, particularly being able to identify critiques of previous literature, gaps and findings in articles and synthesising them to produce rationales for their own research. -- Sue Greener, Brighton Business School
This book, part of the Sage Study skills guides, provides a supportive framework to allow students to develop and refine their reading skills. Having used the reading codes myself, I would recommend it as a valuable resource for students to quickly ascertain relevant content within articles. A useful companion to this book is Shon's book in the same series The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing: How to avoid big mistakes and small errors, which uses the reading codes as a means of developing academic writing. -- Caroline Ford

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