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Sports Management Research Guide

Research Databases and Articles

Research Databases contain articles that are stored digitally and are organized so as to allow users to search multiple journals simultaneously.

A scholarly research article:

It must be original research conducted by the authors of the research article, who ran surveys, conducted experiments, collected data, or otherwise gathered material on their own or with a team of researchers.

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.

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 compilation and critical evaluation of material that has been previously published. 

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.

Search Strategies

Developing a Search Strategy

Before you can search for any information, you should first develop a search strategy.

What is a Search Strategy?

A search strategy is a plan that helps you look for the information you need.

Search Strategy Tips

  • Identify the key concepts.
  • Determine alternative terms for these concepts, if needed.
  • Refine your search to dates, study groups, etc., as appropriate.
  • Practice helps. Strategies and styles will differ according to personal choice and professional discipline.


Google Scholar is one way to search the internet for scholarly literature including peer-reviewed journals, thesis and books. Always access it through the Adelphi portal (it is in the A-Z Database list) so that you are linked back to search results in our collection