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Education: Finding Studies

What is a Study?

A study is a document describing in detail the findings of a scholarly and/or scientific investigation of a topic. It is also known as empirical or primary research.  For further explanation on how databases categorize methodologies, please click here


  • Abstract Section - Provides a summary of the articles and includes keywords.
  • Introduction - Presents the Problem and provides background information and explains why the research is being done.
  • Hypothesis - States the Problem (this is sometimes also included in the Introduction).
  • Methods Section - Explains how the research was conducted and may include number of participants, equipment used, procedure, etc. 
  • Results Section - Summarizes the data (including tables, charts, graphs).
  • Discussion - Evaluates the results and explains how the research proved or disproved the Hypothesis (may be included within Results section).
  • References - List of sources used.  Useful for locating additional materials.

How to Find a Study in ERIC

When searching the ERIC database, be sure to limit your results by checking the following options:

  • Peer reviewed
  • Under Journal or Document, select "Journal Articles."
  • Reports-Research (ERIC is unique in that it has a special limiter a student may use to ensure that his/her search yields results that are studies)

Unless the abstract of an article you find in the database clearly states that it is a study, you must examine it to determine whether or not it is.  In order to do this, look for the following:

  • a METHODS section
  • a RESULTS or DISCUSSION section
  • reference to a number of participants (ex. n=270)

ERIC is only one of the many useful databases for research in the field of Child Study.  When conducting your research, be sure to use more than one database.  

How to Find a Study in PsycArticles or PsychInfo

When searching these databases be sure to limit your search results by selecting the following limiters:

  • Peer Reviewed
  • Exclude Book Reviews (if applicable)
  • Exclude non-article Content (if applicable)
  • Methodology: Under the Methodology limiter select Case Study and/or Empirical Study


How to Find a Study in ProQuest Databases

When searching these databases be sure to limit your search results by selecting the following limiters:

  • Peer Reviewed
  • Document Type: "Case Study"

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Primary Sources

Primary sources are works generated at the time of the event.  Primary sources include:

1. Documents produced by the events themselves: government documents, treaties, reports of official bodies, letters, and speeches.

2. Documents produced to record events at the time of the event: chronicles, diaries, journalists' reports, interviews, drawings, photographs, tape recordings and video tapes.

3. Oral histories or recollections of a participant to an event.

4. Creative Works such as art, drama, music, novels, poetry, and film

5. Reports of original research, case studies, and clinical studies

Useful Websites