What is a primary source?
A primary source is ALWAYS:
-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:
For more information about Primary vs. Secondary (or even Tertiary) articles, please see this page from the University of Toronto.
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 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|
||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||
Shorter, overview-type articles. Popular style.
Glossy format. Attractive covers. Lots of photographs.
Does not usually include abstract or citation list.
Includes many advertisements aimed at a general audience.
Purpose of the articles is to entertain the reader.
Credentials always included.
Peer reviewed, refereed or juried: critically evaluated by a knowledge panel of experts.
Usually published by a scholarly or university press.
Reporters, staff writers.
Credentials not usually included.
Reviewed by the editorial staff, not subject experts.
Articles are sometimes unsigned.
Usually published by a commercial publisher.
|Includes words like: review, journal, research, quarterly, studies, transactions, proceedings, archives.||Title||Often included the word magazine|
|Technical, likely to include the jargon of the field. Assumes some background knowledge from the reader.||Language||Non-technical, accessible by broad audience|
|Traditional structure usually requires: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, references||Article structure||No specific structure.|
|Published bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.||Frequency||Published daily, weekly or monthly.|
|Professors, researchers, professionals, experts, students; people who are already interested in the topic.||Audience||General public, trying to attract an audience.|