Scholarly articles are written by experts in a particular field for other experts or students in that field. Their purpose is to inform and/or report on original research and keep that field up-to-date on recent findings and news. Think of scholarly work as an ongoing conversation!
Peer review is the process of having one or more persons who have the same competences as the work's creators evaluate the work. It serves as a mechanism for competent professionals within the field to self-regulate, catch and fix mistakes before publication.
The authority of a source depends on the purpose of creation and of use. If you are writing an academic paper, looking for scholarly sources and peer-reviewed articles can help you make sure that your information is reliable.
An empirical research article is one that contains research based on actual observations or experiments, rather than theories or beliefs. You can find two different kinds of research methods in empirical articles: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative research methods -- these research methods produce numerical data that aims to establish a causal relationship between two or more variables. Examples of quantitative research methods include an experiment or a short survey sent to a large number of participants.
Qualitative research methods -- these research methods objectively and critically analyze behaviors, feelings, values, or beliefs with little or no numerical data. Examples of qualitative research methods include in-depth interviews, case studies, or focus groups.
There are various characteristics that you can identify to help determine if the article you found is empirical. Keep in mind that the article you find does not have to have every characteristic below, but should have more than one. For example, just because an article is published in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal does not mean that it is an empirical article.
An abstract is a summary of the article. An abstract of an empirical article may describe:
Empirical articles may include the following subheadings:
In some empirical articles, these subheadings will be combined into different sections. Even if you cannot find these specific subheadings, the information associated with them should be present in the article.
Empirical articles are lengthy and are usually at least seven pages long.
To access a journal article in most of the library's databases, you will either find a PDF file or a link that says Lycoming Availability. If you see this link, click on it to see if it's available locally or if you will need to request the article through Interlibrary Loan, a free service that allows us to request materials from libraries around the world.
You can also use the Full Text Finder and browse by discipline or use the search bar. See the tutorial below!