Primary Literature Versus Review Literature
Primary literature (i.e. empirical articles)
- An empirical research article in the sciences reports the findings of original research done by the authors of the article.
- Empirical research articles are usually published in peer-reviewed journals.
- An empirical research article poses a research question or states a hypothesis.
- To determine whether or not you've found an empirical research article, scan the article (or even just the abstract). Look for an introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections.
- Review articles in the sciences summarize previously reported findings rather than present new findings, often pulling together the findings of multiple empirical research articles. In doing so, review literature often gives a broader view of the current state of understanding in a given topic area.
Popular Literature Versus Scholarly Literature
|Author||Staff writer; journalist||Expert in the field; known credentials|
|Audience||General public||Scholars, researchers|
|Language||Little technical language or subject-specific jargon||Uses technical language and subject-specific jargon|
|Coverage||Broad topics; shallow coverage; shorter length||Narrow topics; in-depth coverage; longer length|
|Documentation||Usually no bibliography||Bibliography present|