Skip to main content

Library Self-Help & How-to

What is a primary source?

A primary source is ALWAYS:

-original

-written/recorded first-hand by somebody who was there at the time of the event (or experiment)

i.e. Your grandmother's diary from when she was a child is a primary source.  The paper you wrote about it is a secondary source. 

A good example of a primary article in the field of psychology:

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Articles: What's the difference?

Quantitative research is easy to remember as being based on quantity (how many?).  Large groups are studied to test hypotheses, look at cause and effect, and make predictions.  It allows for specific variables to be tested, is highly controlled, and deals mainly with numbers and statistics.

   Examples: carefully designed experiments, numerical data

This makes it seem like qualitative research should be based on quality.  However, try to think of it more as a way to qualify (understand and interpret) the value of a particular research problem (what?  why?).  Somebody has identified a statistical relationship between x and y, and now the new qualitative research is looking to identify themes, patterns, etc.  

   Examples: open-ended questionnaires, unstructured observation

If you want to compare the aspects of qualitative and quantitative research, please see this chart from Xavier University. 

What is a peer-reviewed (scholarly) article?

A scholarly article is written by an expert in a specific field and generally intended to be read by other experts in the field.  Good scholarly research and writing is part of a larger conversation on any given topic within the field.  This means that a good scholarly article will often encourage further research and other responses from fellow experts. 


Peer-review is just what it sounds like.  It has been written by an expert, or experts, in a field and reviewed by other experts within the same field.  Peer-reviewed articles can be found easily in many of the databases by simply checking the peer-reviewed (sometimes called "referreed") box.

To determine if an article is scholarly or peer-reviewed, see below for a quick checklist. 

If you're still not sure whether an article you've found is peer-reviewed, please see the Find Articles -- Peer-reviewed webpage.

Did you know?

Did you know that you can search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time?

To do this, click on "Choose Databases" link above the search boxes. The database in which you are seaching will already be checked (eg. Academic Search Complete).

Using the check boxes, select:

  • Humanities Source

Once you've selected all the databases you would like to search, scroll down the screen and click OK.

At this point your screen will refresh and the name of your original database will be followed by "Show all." You are now searching multiple databases at once.

My EBSCO

My EBSCOhost is a feature of EBSCO databases that allows you to save your searches and articles for future access. To sign up for this feature, click "Sign In to MY EBSCOhost", at the top right of the screen from any page within an EBSCOhost database.

Advanced Search Reminders

  • Use AND to combine different keywords.  
    • For example, minorities AND coaching
  • Use OR to combine synonyms or related terms 
    • race OR ethnicity OR minorit*
  • To look for a phrase use “quotation marks” around your terms:
    • “human resource management” will find those words next to each other, instead of anywhere on the page.
  • To look for variations of a word, or to look for the singular and plural, use the
    • Minor* will find minority or minorities, but it will also find anything about minor or minors.
  • Use Parentheses: separate synonyms from others.
    • (race OR ethnicity) and coaching

Peer Reviewed vs. Popular Articles

Peer-reviewed articles are usually found in scholarly journals while popular or general articles often are found in popular magazines.

Scholarly Journals Criteria Popular Magazines
JAMA

Political Science Quarterly
Type of source

Lengthy, in depth. Often includes tables, graphs, statistics.

Serious appearance, not heavily graphic.

Generally includes abstract and citation list.

Advertisements aimed at the scholarly audience it serves.

Purpose of the articles is usually to present original research or experiments.

Length and appearance of articles

Scholars, experts.

Credentials always included.

Peer reviewed, refereed or juried: critically evaluated by a knowledge panel of experts.

Usually published by a scholarly or university press.

Authorship/Editorial
Includes words like: review, journal, research, quarterly, studies, transactions, proceedings, archives. Title
Technical, likely to include the jargon of the field. Assumes some background knowledge from the reader. Language
Traditional structure usually requires: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, references  Article structure
Published bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Frequency
Professors, researchers, professionals, experts, students; people who are already interested in the topic. Audience   
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2019 2:51 PM
URL: https://library.brockport.edu/healthcare

What's that Search for Full-text button?

Don't give up when you see the    search for full text button imagebutton!

You may be able to view the article in another database, or we can get it for you through Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery.

Visit this page for more detailed information.

Search Tips for [Subject]

Quantitative research is easy to remember as being based on quantity (how many?).  Large groups are studied to test hypotheses, look at cause and effect, and make predictions.  It allows for specific variables to be tested, is highly controlled, and deals mainly with numbers and statistics.

   Examples: carefully designed experiments, numerical data

This makes it seem like qualitative research should be based on quality.  However, try to think of it more as a way to qualify (understand and interpret) the value of a particular research problem (what?  why?).  Somebody has identified a statistical relationship between x and y, and now the new qualitative research is looking to identify themes, patterns, etc.  

   Examples: open-ended questionnaires, unstructured observation

If you want to compare the aspects of qualitative and quantitative research, please see this chart from Xavier University. 

Close mobile nav