Basics of Research Literature

USM Basics of Research Literature Tutorial

With the voluminous amounts of information available these days, it is often difficult to find the best sources for your needs. In college, this is complicated by the fact that academic research often requires a more discriminating selection of materials. Fortunately, most article databases today give clues in the citation details to help you ascertain the type of source it is and whether or not it is an appropriate source. This tutorial will help you understand the different types of sources and how to recognize them in the article databases.


After completing this tutorial, you should be able to:

  • Recognize an empirical research study
  • Differentiate between a quantitative and qualitative study
  • Define "peer-reviewed"
  • Differentiate between popular, trade and scholarly journals
  • Recognize a primary source from a secondary source
  • Discern scholarly/research type websites from commercial