Main Lab

   Describing aspects of
    a good theory.

Phases of research
  Steps for conducting a
    research study.

Research methods
  Different types of 
   research methods.

Sources for Info
  Primary & Secondary
    sources of research.

Journal Articles
  Understanding a
    typical journal article.

On-line Searches
  How to use PsycInfo 
    and other search
    engines.  Includes info
    on full text articles.

APA Format
   Learn to write in APA 

Activities & Quizzes
   A variety of activities
    related to research. 
   To be used in classes.




Topic:  Primary and Secondary Sources of Research 

    Research publications are divided into primary and secondary sources of information.  Primary sources report the results of original studies and represent the latest information on a topic.  Secondary sources are reviews of several primary sources in a particular research area and are not meant to provide the reader with the same detail as in primary sources.  Secondary sources also contain information that is dated by at least 1 year, due to
publication lags. 
    A study examining children's sibling relationship in families where one child is seriously ill would be an example of a primary source of information.  An article reviewing the past 15 years of sibling research, with critiques of previous studies and suggestions for future direction, would be an example of a secondary source of information.

Primary Sources:

  Journal Articles 

    Journal articles contain both primary and secondary sources of information; however, the majority of articles are primary sources that describe a particular study.  A typical journal article states the problem under investigation, briefly reviews past research on the topic, presents the hypotheses, describes the methods used to test the hyotheses, reviews the statistical results, and discusses the findings.  To learn more about understanding journal articles of this type, click here


    Dissertations are reports of research studies conducted by advanced-level graduate students to fulfill the requirements for a Ph.D.  Dissertations are available in their original form at the university where the graduate student attended.  They also may be available via University Microfilms International, also known as Bell and Howell Information and Learning, at this website
    (It might be more prudent to wait for the dissertation to be published. Many disserations are 100+ pages long and can cost up to $70 to retrieve.)

 Secondary Sources

Review Articles 

    Review articles in journals summarize, integrate, and critique several studies related to a particular area.  These articles are a good starting point for someone who is just beginning to learn about a topic.  Often, the word "review" is in the title which makes it easier to find these articles through on-line searches
     Some journals are completely devoted to review articles, including Psychology Review and Psychological Bulletin.

Chapters in Books & Books 

    Many chapters and entire books review research studies.  These types of research literature provide the broadest exploration of a particular subject without the limitations of space found in journal articles (even review articles). 

  Handbooks & Annual Reviews 

    Other publications available for reviews of the literature are from handbooks and annual reviews.  Handbooks are volumes of books about general areas within psychology.  For example, child psychology publishes a handbook titled Handbook of  Child Psychology.  The most recent publication of the Handbook was in 1998, a 4 volume set that reviewed the literature on developmental theory, cognitive development, social and emotional development, and child psychology in practice, for the past 15 years.  Annual Reviews in Psychology also extensively review research, for the past year only.  Both sources provide comprehensive information on a variety of topics.