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Tips for Reading Scholarly Journal Articles in Psychology

Types of Articles

Common types of articles
Quantitative Articles Authors report original research in which the observed outcomes and data that are gathered are numerically represented. The results are analyzed using statistical methods that rely on numerical properties. 
Qualitative Articles Authors report original research in which the data and observed outcomes are communicated using natural language. One common type of qualitative research is the case study, in which researchers report on observations made while working closely with an individual, group, community, or other type of organization. 
Mixes Methods Articles These types of articles combine both qualitative or quantitative methodologies. 
Replication Articles Authors reproduce a study using the same methodology as a previous researcher. This is often done to confirm the results and conclusions made by prior researchers. This type of work is becoming more common, and the proliferation of replication studies highlight the importance of carefully describing how data are gathered and analyzed in the Method section of a study. 
Meta-Analyses Articles These articles can be either quantitative or qualitative. Meta-analysis refers to an article in which the author synthesizes findings from a group of related studies to draw a general conclusion. 
Literature Review Articles Nearly all scholarly articles in the field of psychology include a literature review in the Introduction section, however, some articles are stand alone literature reviews. These articles are often written by experts in their area of research, and often the authors are invited by journal editors to write these articles, specifically because they are well known in their field. These articles are extremely useful when you are starting to research a concept. They will summarize research in a given area of interest, and they will identify short-comings, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies. These articles can be very helpful for identifying additional research for your own literature review and for finding new, original ways to investigate a concept. 
Theoretical Articles These articles draw from existing research to advance a theory. Authors will often trace the development of a theory in order to expand or refine it. These articles do not follow the typical format of other scholarly articles in the field of psychology. 
Methodological Articles These articles focus on examining and refining methodologies that have been used to study phenomena. Authors do not typically collect original data for these articles, but will use existing data to illustrate methodological approaches to research. 
Other Types of Articles There are a number of other types of psychology articles that don't fit into one of the categories above. They can include book reviews, brief reports, comments on previously published research, obituaries, letters to the editor, etc. These articles do not follow the typical format found with empirical research.