Answered By: Todd White
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2018     Views: 53

Siu L Chow, in the article “Research Hypothesis” from the Encyclopedia of Research Design, writes “To conduct research is to collect, analyze, and interpret data systematically so as to answer specific questions about a phenomenon of interest.”

In a research article, the author has created a question & used an instrument or other method to test a research question. He or she publishes the results and discusses what the findings could mean. Once the research is published, others experts in the field can agree or disagree with the results. If other research cannot disprove the author’s findings, and other research consistently supports the author’s finding, then research moves into the realm of accepted science.

So a research article is the author’s “recipe” for how she or he came to his or her conclusions. It will have the following parts.

  • Introduction (the author poses the research question)
  • Review of the literature (the author collects and discusses previous research on the question)
  • Methodology (the author explains how their research was conducted. This is the SMOKING GUN. An original research article must have a methods section. Other researchers need to know how the research was conducted. If the method of gathering the information was flawed, then the results will be flawed, too)
  • Results (the author reports on what was found out)
  • Discussion (the author thinks on what the results mean)

How do you find research articles …

Your best bet is to use the Library’s database menu. Databases are tools specifically designed to organize & make research accessible. Research articles will be copyrighted, so if you search on the web you often won’t be able to access the full-text without a monetary transaction (there are exceptions, but the library gives you access to all the cookies in the jar).

Which database to use is dependent on what discipline you are working in. From the database menu listed above, use the “by subject” tab to help you find the right subject areas.

Some databases, such as CINAHL (nursing) or PscyhInfo (psychology) allow you to limit your search to research articles. Almost all databases will allow you to limit to scholarly journals. Research articles are published in scholarly journals, but not all scholarly journal articles are research. Look at the article title and read the abstract for clues that the article is a piece of research.

Again, the smoking gun for you is to look at the article and find a methods sections (or methodology). If you get eyes on that, then you have found a piece of original research.

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