If an abstract is available, look for the purpose of the study (authors will likely provide the rationale for their research in the first or second sentence). The abstract should also mention the methodology, results, and conclusion.
Try to answer the following questions after reading the abstract:
1. What is the purpose of the research?
2. What method(s) were used to conduct the research?
3. What were the results of the research?
4. What do the authors conclude about their research results?
Locating primary sources in PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES
In PsycINFO or PsycARTICLES, you can either:
1. Get the database to limit your results to primary sources, and/or
2. Look at the article record.
If you are not using PsycINFO or PsycARTICLES to locate research you can use the tips listed in the box "What to look for in an abstract" to determine if the article is a primary source.
Limit your results to empirical research studies
You can limit your PsycINFO search to select only Empirical Study articles by setting a search limit using the Methodology limiter.
Notice that an Experimental Replication is categorized within Empirical Research. On the advanced search page, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the Methodology section. Next, scroll through the list of options.
Look in the article record for:
Look for characteristics about the study such as population, methods, or tests and measures.
Look at the journal source, is it a peer-reviewed journal?
Look at the authors, are author credentials provided?