Within journals you will find a range of articles, including research, news, expert opinion and book reviews. Although all of these can be useful, you will need to know how to identify primary research.
Primary Research (original research) articles report on and share new research findings. Examples include: focus groups, interviews, surveys, observations, experiments.
Secondary Research (desk research) articles evaluate and synthesize existing primary research. Examples include: literature reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses.
When identifying primary research look out for:
Various research methods can be used. The main types are Qualitative and Quantitative.
Quantitative research aims to measure or quantify the subject of the study. Data collection will often be numerical. The sample size in quantitative research tends to be large and there may be statistical analysis of the data collected.
Here is an example of a quantitative research journal article.
Qualitative research aims to explore meaning and understanding of what is being studied through looking at experiences. Qualitative research records words rather than numbers and is often descriptive in nature.
Here is an example of a qualitative research journal article.
Click here to view a reference chart outlining the differences between qualitative and quantitative research.
In the title or abstract (summary of the article)
Look for words that describe research and the research process undertaken:
e.g. research, qualitative research, quantitative research, study, experiment, survey, questionnaire etc.
In the text of the article
Look for words / subheadings / sections of the article which describe the research process including:
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