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ESS 265 & ATTR 540: Research Methods in Athletic Training/Human Performance: Types of Research & Research Techniques

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Reference and General Collection Books

Call Numbers for Browsing Funderburg Library Shelves:

  • 611

 Human anatomy, cytology, histology

  • 612

 Human physiology

  • 613

 Promotion of health

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source is a first-hand original source of information. In this type of source, authors report on a study that was conducted by the authors themselves. Keep in mind that primary sources may still summarize existing literature (a literature review) that relates to the topic before describing the study that was originally conducted.

A secondary source is an interpretation of a given source of information. A meta-analysis is an example of a secondary source where the authors view conclusions from a list of many individual studies and make broad conclusions and observations based on a very large number of results.

When researching, look for a methods section of your article.

  • Was the research done in a lab, in the field, or by direct communication with subjects? If so, you probably have a primary source.
  • Was the research done in libraries or databases? If so, you probably have a secondary source.

Content based off of Seton Hill University's SER 390 Course Guide

Systematic Review Process

Systematic reviews try to identify, select, synthesize and appraise relevant research evidence as part of evidence based research. This is more than a literature review in that it follows a strict methodology.

Five steps to a Systematic Review:

  • Formulate your research question
  • Search for studies
  • Assess the quality of studies
  • Summarize the evidence
  • Interpret the findings

Keep in mind that you're looking for evidence in terms of its validity, impact, and applicability to your research question.