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Research Basics: Types of Scholarly Articles

Qualitative Study Quantitative Study Literature Review Meta-Analysis
Sample groups too small to analyze using statistics Produces numerical results / analyzed statistically An article that provides an overview of important research on a particular topic Reviews several quantitative studies analyzing them looking for patterns/ trends within data
Case Study May involves experimentation Considered scholarly but not primary research/ no new study is conducted Uses existing studies
Interview Survey/ questionnaire Usually considered another form of quantitative research
Focus Groups

Basic components of a research article

Title: is a concise description of the research report. It should convey appropriate information about the study or studies presented in the report.

Abstract: provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the research.

Introduction: sets the research in a context (it provides the “big picture”), provides a review of related research, and develops the hypotheses for the research.  The introduction describes the problem, develops the theoretical and empirical background for the research questions, and elaborates a rationale for all parts of the study.

Method (or methodology): is a description of how the research was conducted, including who the participants were, the design of the study, what the participants did, and what measures were used. The detail is important so the reader can determine the appropriateness of the method for answering the scientific questions. It is also important for another researcher to be able to replicate the study. This section reads a lot like a recipe.

Results: describes the outcomes of the measures of the study. This section contains the summaries and analyses of the measures obtained in the study. This is where the "answers" to the research questions will be found.

Discussion: contains the interpretations and implications of the study. There may be more that one study in the report; in this case, there are usually separate Method and Results sections for each study followed by a General Discussion that ties all the research together.

References: contains information about all the articles and books that were cited in the report. The reference citations are used to support statements made in the article.

Modified from Department of Psychology, Academic Technologies for Learning, and University of Alberta, 1997.

Professor & Library Director

Dr. Bryan Carson's picture
Dr. Bryan Carson
Murrell Library