Analyzing Scholarly Articles

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Introduction

In this tutorial, you will learn to tell the difference between primary and secondary research articles and how and when to use each in your research assignments. You will use Academic Search Complete to locate a scholarly article.

Use the arrows below to navigate through the tutorial.

Identify the components of research articles

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Although disciplines have differing norms for the way their scholars conduct and present research, most scholarly articles can be divided into two major categories – primary research articles and secondary research articles. Knowing what kind of information each type of article contains will help you select, read, and incorporate scholarly research into your own writing and research.

Identify the components of research articles

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Primary research articles publish information on results of studies or experiments that the author(s) have conducted. Primary research articles usually contain the following components:

  • Introduction
  • Background 
  • Literature Review
  • Explanation of study / Study Design
  • Methods / Experiment / Procedures  
  • Results / Conclusion
  • Suggestions for future research
  • Recommendations
  • References

Identify the components of research articles

3 of 3Secondary research articles publish information that analyzes the studies and experiments that other scholars have previously conducted or that build upon and extend the knowledge of a field by using existing scholarship to draw original conclusions. Secondary research articles usually contain the following components:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Literature Review
  • Analysis of existing writings and theories in the field  
  • The application of existing writing in the field to a new research question
  • The presentation of a novel theory
  • Conclusion
  • Suggestions for future research
  • Recommendations

Locate Academic Search Complete

We will be using Academic Search Complete to locate an article for this exercise.

In the webpage on the right, place your cursor over the Search & Find tab and choose Articles & Databases.

Under Popular Databases & Resources, find and click on Academic Search Complete

You may be prompted to enter your UA NetID and password.

You are now in Academic Search Complete.

Search for an article in Academic Search Complete

You will be searching Academic Search Complete to locate and analyze specific articles.

Type the following into the search box: developing mindfulness in college students 

Click Search

Locate the title of the journal

One article should appear. Click on PDF Full Text to open a PDF version of the article.

What is the title of the journal that published this article?

Locate and review the article's Abstract

An article’s Abstract is usually located near the top of the article.

What did this study examine?

Locate and review the article's METHODS section

The METHODS section will be close to the beginning of the article.

What were the students that participated in the study asked to do by the researchers?

Locate and review the article's RESULTS section.

Usually the RESULTS section will be in the middle of the article.

How many students participated in the study?

Locate and review the article's Research Questions

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In this case, the Research Questions are under the RESULTS section.

How many Research Questions do the authors explore? (Hint - look for the questions presented in italics.)

Locate and review the article's Research Questions

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Locate this Research Question:

Does increased mindfulness relate to improvements in sleep quality, self-regulatory self-efficacy, mood, and perceived stress?

Was there a decrease in the number of students reporting insomnia after participation in one of the three activities researched?

Based on the analysis that you just performed, do you believe this is a primary or secondary research article?

Accessing this database after you have completed this tutorial

Under Search and Find, go to Articles and Databases and then select your database using the alphabetical list.

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