Psychology and Education @St. Thomas

November 16, 2009

Seminal and Core Articles

Filed under: Citations,Research Techniques,scholarly communication — merriealynn @ 8:59 pm

You’re writing a paper. Your professor has told you that your references can only include recent articles — 5, 6, or 10 years old or less. And seminal (or core) articles. What’s a seminal article?

In general, research is a conversation among scholars. Each study or analysis is a contribution to that conversation. Scholars are responding to each other. Some articles are read by very few scholars, others — seminal or core articles — are read by almost every scholar in that particular field. The resulting research is a collective response to that article.

Therefore, if you want to really understand the research, you need to read these seminal articles. A seminal article tells you WHY researchers chose the research studies they chose.

You can find these articles by

  • Looking in encyclopedias and handbooks. They are listed after each article.
  • Checking your textbooks.
  • Reading the references to articles you’ve found. Which articles and researchers are mentioned over and over again?

Examples:

On learned helplessness in general:

Dweck, C. S. (1975). The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31(4), 674-685. doi:10.1037/h0077149

If you look this one up in PsychNET, you’ll find that 359 people have cited it. So this gives you an idea of how many people think her work is interesting, important, worth responding to.

On differences in how genders respond to teacher feedback:

Sex differences in learned helplessness: II. The contingencies of evaluative feedback in the classroom and III. An experimental analysis.

If you look this article up in Google Scholar, you’ll find that 618 people have cited it.

In language acquisition:  Brown R (1973) A First Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

If you look in PsycNET,  you’ll find that 956 other articles have cited it in their own work. Wow! Everyone talks about this one!

1 Comment »

  1. […] or how you see that it could be applied to agricultural communications. Look here for help on finding seminal articles and here for finding in-depth information in Google searches. The assignments section has many more […]

    Pingback by Culture in Agriculture | Dr. Baker's agcom844 — October 6, 2013 @ 4:59 pm | Reply


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