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RTH 229: Diagnostic Groups in Recreational Therapy: Home

Elements of a Peer-Reviewed Empirical Research Article

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review (often embedded in the introduction)
  • Methods (data collection, research design, sample, participants with special needs or specific health conditions, therapeutic recreation interventions/activity/program, instruments to measure benefits of the interventions/activity/program)
  • Results
  • Discussion (including implications, limitations, future research)
  • Conclusion

Using Google to Find Information

  • Why not just Google your topic? 

  • Sheer number of results

  • Google relies on algorithms 

  • Trending, popular news items/posts 

  • No form of peer review: anybody can post anything, whether it’s true or not 

  • Can’t find information behind paywalls 

  • It’s not bad to use Google, but if you do, you have to know how to evaluate your information critically: how do you do that?

Helpful information


This library session and the accompanying guide will help you to access and explore library resources in order to find scholarly articles for you to use in your assignment.  This guide will be here for the remainder of the semester, so please refer back to it!

Popular vs. Scholarly Resources

Popular sources: 

Are widely available, usually cheaper to acquire, and can be understood by almost every person with basic literacy skills.  They tend to promulgate known ideas and theories. These works may be professionally edited, but do not go through a jury process.

Scholarly or Academic sources:

Their purpose is to share information within the subject field and they are based on original research and experimentation. They are suitable for academics, and are supported by a system of learning and study.  They are less widely circulated than popular sources and may be understandable only to those who work or study in a particular field. In addition, scholarly sources are juried either through peer review or the referee process.

  • Peer-Reviewed: When an article is Peer-Reviewed, the editors of the journal wishing to publish the item send it to scholars in the relevant field; e.g., an article about Biology would go to other biologists.  These scholars provide feedback about the article's pertinence to scholarship in their field, the quality of research and presentation of findings, and more.  This ensures that the articles that wind up in academic journals have scholastic merit and contribute to the overall research in the field.

  • Refereed: A Refereed Article is also referred to other scholars in the field.  However, in this instance, the reviews are blind.  In other words, the academic peers conducting the review do not know the name of the work's author.  In addition, it is often the case that the reviewers' names are not made known to the author.  This ensures that the work is judged solely on its own merit rather than the author's reputation.  In addition, the manuscript must be reviewed by at least two other people.

(The University of Texas at San Antonio (2012).  Scholarly Resources.  Retrieved: 

Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Articles

One of the most important things to know when starting research at the college level is that there are different types of information: scholarly, trade and popular. They vary in who writes them, who the intended audience is, the purpose, and other characteristics.

This 5 minute video from Winona State explains the difference among the three of them. 


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Pam Cipkowski

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