Research Defined: What is research? How do you recognize a research article?

Do you know what your professor means by research? Can you tell if your article is a Research article? If you answered no to either of these questions you are in danger of failing and you really need to watch this video. The term “research” can be confusing because it is used by different people to mean different things.

Simply looking up the term “research” in a dictionary won’t help you. The Dictionary defines the term research in a few ways that do not relate to what your professor means. The definition that states research is a careful study aimed at discovering new knowledge about something is closer, but it will not get you through your research class. Researchers do a lot more than simply gathering or searching for information.

Research is defined by academics as a logical, systematic, in-depth and rigorous investigation of a question or problem. This investigation is conceptualised, designed and carried out using specific procedures supported by theory and evidence in order to maintain high quality results. Many kinds of research exist. For example, researchers may conduct experiments or interviews depending on the type of research being done. Quality Research articles can be found in peer reviewed journals. Remember that editorials, commentaries and theoretical articles that you may find in peer-reviewed journals are not research.

Some are supported by research, but are not considered research themselves. Research articles have a specific layout that contains key information about a study that was done. They are organised into four main sections including an Introduction section, design section, Results or findings section and finally the discussion section. Sometimes these sections will have slightly different names but they contain the same information.

For example, the terms Methods, Methodology, and Design are often interchanged as the heading for the section that tells you about the decisions the researcher made when planning and carrying out the study. Another good thing to note is that quantitative research papers will often use the word results whereas qualitative research papers will often use the word findings for the section of the paper that contains what was discovered. To make things even more confusing there are different kinds of studies out there that are held to different standards. That is why your teacher doesn’t want you to just use anything that calls itself research. In university, teachers want you to find a specific, high quality kind of research article.

That is why they want you to use the school’s library databases to find articles in peer-reviewed journals. It is possible to find the kind of research your professor is looking for through google but you need more skill to sort through what you find there. Once you find something good you may or may not have access to the full article …

So, especially if you are a beginner it is safer to go to your library’s databases to search peer reviewed articles. Many assignments in nursing will ask you to find and use research articles. Sometimes it can be tricky to decide if an article you have found is a research article or one of the other types of articles out there. What do you think is the best way to tell the difference between a research article and a non research article? Post your tips below.