Now that you have found empirical research articles, let's review how to read and evaluate them to understand their purpose and value to your research. The information on this page will cover:
Often database generated citations have errors that need to be addressed before including them in your References. You can see examples of APA citations through the Citations tab linked above. However, looking at the article itself will help give you the information needed to complete your citation.
Typically, the names of the academic or research institutions the authors are affiliated with will be stated on the first page of the journal article, either near the author's names, or lower on the page.
Abstracts are often written by the author or authors of the article. The abstract provides a concise summary of the research, including its purpose, significant results, and implications of the results. Reading the abstract can be an excellent, quick way to determine whether the article is suitable for your needs. The abstract appears on the first page of the journal article, and may or may not be labeled.
PLEASE NOTE: It is not enough to read the abstract when writing your annotation or using a source in your paper!
The first few paragraphs of a journal article serve to:
A thesis or hypothesis is not always clearly labeled; you may need to read through the introductory paragraphs to determine what the authors are proposing.
A literature review describes previous research or discussion that has been published on the topic. This review of the literature can provide a good overview of the topic and will outline what other researchers have found. It's important to remember that it may not always be "clearly" labeled, however, it is easy to identify. The passage below shows references to the work of other researchers throughout the text, with their names and the year their research was published in parenthetical citations.
This section of the article describes the procedures, or methods, that were used to carry out the research study. The methodology the authors follow will vary according to the discipline, or field of study, the research relates to. Types of methodology include case studies, scientific experiments, field studies, focus groups, and surveys.
This section gives all of the data that was collected as a result of the research. Typically, results are reported in statistical terms, often in the form of tables, charts, and graphs.
This section gives discussion, conclusions, or implications, of the research. Here, the authors summarize what the results of the research might mean to the field, how the research addresses the original hypothesis, weaknesses of the study, and recommendations for future research about the topic.
The list of references, or works cited, provides publication information for all of the materials the authors used in the article. The references list can be a good way to identify additional sources of information on the topic.