Primary Research

So what is primary research?

  • Discusses a narrow question or issue in the field;
  • Presents a hypothesis to address that question;
  • Creates an experiment or test to check their hypothesis;
  • Reports on the results and typically describes new data;
  • Authors describing research they designed and conducted themselves.

Let’s look at a primary research article for tips on how to actually recognize an article in the wild…

  1. Look for section headings like Abstract/Summary, Introduction, Methods, Results and Conclusion/Discussion
    abstract     conclusions     lit review
    Protip: headings won’t always fit neatly into that label, ask yourself what is the section describing before dismissing an article that labels a section with “Background” instead of “Introduction”
    CAUTION: some research articles contain literature reviews. These sections often explain how this study fits into the literature, but don’t let this confuse you–a literature review section does not make it a literature review!
    ~
  2. The Results section will often contain graphs and charts.
    results
    ~
  3. If an Abstract section exists, look for words like “this study examines….” or “we did research to find…”
    abstract
    ~
  4. The Methods section can be the easiest way to spot a research paper. This section describes how the authors set up their study and the subjects of the research.
    Capture
    ~
  5. Just because you search for your subject and add “research paper,” does not mean your results will only contain research articles. The best way to ensure you have a research article is to search for these features, read for yourself and use your critical thinking skills! If you’re still struggling, you can always ask your instructor or a librarian.

<<return to the PSY201 Instructional Session
 proceed to Literature Reviews tutorial for PSY201>>

 

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