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Research Roadmaps: About Scholarly Articles

Introduction to Research

Types of Empirical Research

Quantitative Research - involves the use of numerical calculations or summarize, describe and explore relationships among traits; reliance on control of variables, statistics, measurement, and experiments.

Qualitative Research - emphasis is on conducting studies in natural settings using mostly verbal descriptions, resulting in stories and case studies rather than statistical reports.

Mixed Methods - employs both quantitative an qualitative designs.

Adapted from McMillan & Wergin. 2010. Understanding and Evaluating Educational Research.

Types of Scholarly Articles

Not all scholarly articles report the results of empirical research.

Characteristics of Articles




Article reporting on the results of one or more studies or experiments, written by the person(s) who conducted the research. This is considered one type of primary source. Look in the title or abstract for words like study, research, measure, subjects, data, effects, survey, or statistical which might indicate empirical research.

Case Study

Detailed account of clinically important cases of common and rare conditions.


Summarizes the findings of others studies or experiments; attempts to identify trends or draw broader conclusions. Scholarly in nature but not a primary source or research article, however its references to other articles will include primary sources or research articles.


A meta-analysis is a mathematical synthesis of the results of two or more primary studies that addressed the same hypothesis in the same way.

Letters or Communications

Short descriptions of important latest study or research findings which are usually considered urgent for immediate publication. Examples: breakthroughs regarding cures or treatments for previously incurable conditions, or cure for a particular outbreak of disease, like for example swine flu.


Containing or referring to a set of abstract principles related to a specific field of knowledge; characteristically it does not contain original empirical research or present experimental data, although it is scholarly.


Describes technique, work flow, management or human resources issue.

Professional communications, Book reviews, Letters to the Editor

Most scholarly journals publish articles that pertain to the workings of the profession but are not 'scholarly' in nature.

Subject Guide

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