Scholarly sources describe different types of research. Read about some of the most common types of scholarly sources.
Empirical studies describe original research completed by the author(s). This could be a new study or a new analysis of existing data. Look for sections of the article that describe methods, results, and an analysis or discussion of the results.
Case studies report on information gathered while working with a specific individual or group. Case studies may describe a little-known or common condition or problem, or reveal the need for more research in that area.
Meta-analyses are quantitative, statistical analyses of the results of two or more studies on the same topic or hypothesis. By combining the results of multiple studies, the author(s) of the meta-analysis hope to provide greater understanding of the topic.
Theoretical articles may present a new theory for understanding a field or area of knowledge, or they may refine or critique an existing theory. These articles may refer to empirical research, but only in order to advance or show application of the theory.
Literature reviews summarize and analyze previously published research on a given topic, but do not contain original research themselves. They are useful in helping to understand a topic and the research that has already been done in that area. References included in the literature review can help you to find empirical research articles on your topic.
Scholarly journals often publish other types of writing relating to communication between members of the field. These articles are usually short in length and are considered not scholarly. Examples of this type of writing include book reviews, letters to the editor, comments on previously published articles, and obituaries.