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Speech Pathology: Research

Links to databses and guidance on how to do research.

More tutorials and guides to research

Steps in Research

Many students begin an assignment with a question and use research to find the answer. But in academic writing, research is actually part of the process of finding the question. Try beginning with a broad topic and doing research to figure out a question to ask about it. As you find facts about your subject you'll have a better sense of what kind of question you should be asking--with the help of research skills, you can devise an appropriate and achievable question. 

Primary and Secondary Literature

Primary Literature: 
Primary literature for scientists means this is the first publication of original research in journals, conference proceedings, magazines, and other sources.  Primary literature is the original work on which other works are based and usually shares new knowledge, findings, or results in its original form without interpretation by other writers.   Expect to see the following sections:

  • Methods (population, materials. instruments)
  • Results (with charts, graphs, etc.)
  • Discussion

The abstract will probably include a phrase like “in this study” or something similar.  Articles will be very scholarly and appear in academic journals.

Secondary Literature: Are the works based on primary literature that usually include interpretation or commentary by other writers or scholars not involved in the original research.  Reviews of Literature are an example of Secondary Literature.

  • Review article:​  Author analyzes and summarizes all of the existing original research by others on a broad topic.  The title may include the phrase “literature review” or sometimes just “review.”    Articles will be scholarly and appear in academic journals.
  • News: ​Author will summarize recent research.  Usually for a general or lay audience

What is Peer Review?

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