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HED 602: Research and Technology in Health Education (Thornburg): Research Articles

This guide is designed to help you find research articles using your Library Databases, Google Scholar and other related information for your topics.

Research Articles

How do I Identify Research Articles?

  • Confirm that it is a scholarly article.  It should be published in a scholarly journal and not a newspaper or popular magazine. The authors should be experts in the field and not journalists. The article must have a reference list. If the article does not have these elements it is not scholarly, and it cannot be a research article.
  • It must be original research conducted by the authors of the research article. They ran surveys, did the experiments, collected data, made observations, conducted interviews or otherwise gathered material on their own or with a team of researchers. 
  • The abstract often has clues. Look for a sentence that says something like “this study examines…” or “we did research to find…” Such statements indicate that the author probably conducted original research.
  • A research article is different than a "literature review" article, which is a critical evaluation of material that has been previously published. 

Research Articles

How to Read an Empirical Research Article

Rather long (12 minutes) but if you are at a loss, this is excellent.

Click the image to view the video.


These pages were created by Prof. Lois O'Neill.

Elements of a Research Article

Elements of a Research Article

Research articles are a specific type of scholarly, peer-reviewed article. They typically follow a particular format and include specific elements that show how the research was designed, how the data was gathered, how it was analyzed, and what the conclusions are. Sometimes these sections may be labeled a bit differently, but these basic elements are consistent:

Abstract: A brief, comprehensive summary of the article, written by the author(s) of the article.This abstract must be part of the article, not a summary in the database. Abstracts can appear in secondary source articles as well as primary source.

Introduction: This introduces the problem, tells you why it’s important, and outlines the background, purpose, and hypotheses the authors are trying to test. The introduction comes first, just after the abstract, and is usually not labeled.

Methods: Tells the reader describes in details how the research was conducted, and may be subdivided into subsections describing Materials, Apparatus, Subjects, Design, and Procedures.

Results: Summarizes the data and describes how it was analyzed. It should be sufficiently detailed to justify the conclusions. Sometimes called "Findings." 

Discussion: The authors explain how the data fits their original hypothesis, state their conclusions, and look at the theoretical and practical implications of their research. Sometimes called "Analysis."

ReferencesLists the complete bibliography of sources cited in the research article.