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Assignment | Nature vs Nurture Paper (Aguilar): Article Types

PSYC 2314 | Prof. Aguilar (Spring 2023)

Types of Articles

There are two main types of articles you'll come across in the databases: literature reviews and empirical studies. Both may be scholarly, peer-reviewed sources, but empirical studies are primary sources that report on the results of a study.

Literature Review vs Empirical Study

Literature Review

Empirical Study
Evaluates or condenses previously-published material. Reports on new, original research.

Look for:

  • Summarizing previously-published content.
  • Defining or clarifying an issue.
  • Identifying and explaining a problem.
  • Suggesting next steps of future research.


View example below.

Look for:

  • Abstract
  • Methodology
    • Participants/Subjects, Instruments, etc may be mentioned.
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

View example below.



Literature Review: this article was peer-reviewed, but it is a literature review. Notice that the subheadings used describe the topic of those sections rather than a portion of the experimental process. 

Sample first 2 pages of a literature review published in a journal

Newberg, A. B. (2011). Spirituality and the aging brain. Generations, 35(2), 83-91. [See the full article.]

Empirical Study: This peer-reviewed study clearly lists (in the abstract and throughout the paper) the intentions of the study, the methods, the results, and the conclusions.

Not pictured here: even though this is a report of original research, the authors still had a length list of References that used to support their research, just as a literature review would include a lengthy list of papers. Scholarship is a conversation!

Sample of 2 pages of an empirical study

Semiz, U. M., Basoglu, C., Ebrinc, S., & Cetin, M. (2008). Nightmare disorder, dream anxiety, and subjective sleep quality in patients with borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 62(1), 48-55. [See the full article.]