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Research Approaches

Social Science Disciplines

1.  Based on evidence, often obtained by statistical analysis

2.  This type of research primarily deals with people

  • Large groups - e.g., survey research
  • Small groups - e.g., focus group
  • Single person - e.g., interview

3.  Majors/Disciplines

  • Sociology
  • Social Work
  • Human Communication
  • Communication/Journalism
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice

4. These disciplines sometimes require social science research

  • Exercise Science
  • Psychology
  • GeoEnvironmental
  • Political Science

Social Science Research Format

Characteristics of an Empirical Research Article from a Scholarly Journal

  1. Often the Abstract will say "In this study" then describes 1 or 2 studies done by the author(s)
  2. Discusses data which the authors have collected themselves
  3. Typically includes sections with the titles:
    1. Abstract
    2. (Introduction)  APA does not require the use of the title Introduction.
    3. Method/ Literature Review
    4. Participants
    5. Measures
    6. Procedures
    7. Results
    8. Discussion
    9. Reference List at the end of the article

Sample Articles

Tips for Reading a Research Article

  1. Read and Understand the Abstract [This is the author's one paragraph summary of the article]
  2. Read and Understand the Discussion [The Discussion begins with the author summarizing findings.  Then moves on to telling why you should care about this study]
  3. Now start back at the beginning and work through the article.  Think about each section before you go to the next.

Major Databases for Finding Scholarly Articles

Tips for Searching for Scholarly Articles

  1. Choose the limiter "Scholarly Articles" or "Peer-Reviewed Articles."
  2. Add the word "study" as a second term to your search.

APA Style (American Psychological Association)

Quick Guides
Detailed Help
Manual / APA Website
Tutorials, Sample Papers

ASA Style (American Sociological Association)

Quick Guides
Detailed Help
Manual / ASA Website