Scholarly journals contain more than one type of article. In one issue of a journal, such as this issue of Nature, you may find original research articles, review articles, letters to the editor, book reviews, and more. When browsing articles in databases or in paper journals, keep the following questions in mind:
Empirical articles are based on an experiment or study. They are an example of original research. Often in psychology, you will be asked to locate empirical articles. The authors will report the purpose of the study, the research methodology, and results. This is a familiar structure for empirical articles (IMRAD):
In describing the purpose of their study, authors will present a mini literature review to discuss how previous research has led up to their original research project.
Review articles summarize or synthesize content from earlier published research and are useful for surveying the literature on a specific research area. Review articles are not just summaries but critical summaries. Review articles can lead you to original research articles.
Example: Sundstrom, E., Bell, P. A., Busby, P. L., & Asmus, C. (1996). Environmental Psychology 1989–1994. Annual Review of Psychology, 47(1), 485-512. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.47.1.485
Example: Landay, K., & Harms, P. D. (2019). Whistle while you work? A review of the effects of music in the workplace. Human Resource Management Review, 29(3), 371-385. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2018.06.003
Original research articles (empirical articles) are based on an experiment or study. The authors will report the purpose of the study, the research methodology, and results. This is a familiar structure for original research articles > IMRAD: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.
Example: Gonzales, N. A., Knight, G. P., Gunn, H. J., Tein, J., Tanaka, R., & White, R. M. B. (2018). Intergenerational gaps in Mexican American values trajectories: Associations with parent–adolescent conflict and adolescent psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 30(5), 1611-1627. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579418001256
Example: Andjelkovic, I., Parra, D., & O'Donovan, J. (2019). Moodplay: Interactive music recommendation based on artists’ mood similarity. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 121, 142-159. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.04.004
In PsycINFO, use the Methodology limiter to narrow to empirical study (original research).
See explanations of each Methodology available in PsycINFO.
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