This guide is intended to help you find peer-reviewed journal articles on treating speech disorders in children. Some articles will be primary sources, which report original research, whether experimental, exploratory, or descriptive. Others will be secondary sources, which review previously published reports. Secondary sources are also known as secondary research. Still others will be nonsubstantive articles such as editorials, letters to the editor, and errata.
The guide will show you where to search, offer search tips, and show you how to distinguish primary from secondary sources.
First, where not to search. Although you can find articles on Google or Bing, searching these tools is inefficient and costly. Not only will you have to wade through advertising, but when you try to retrieve an article, you'll end up in a publisher's website, which will ask you to pay. As long as you're an SXU student, never pay for information. The library gives you free access to millions of articles, and if we don't have the one you want, we can get it for you—quickly, electronically, and free.
Instead, begin your search in Scopus. This is the most comprehensive search tool for the sciences, and includes articles published by the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.
Search only the important words, leaving out articles and prepositions. Try to anticipate the words that are likely to appear in descriptions of articles on your topic. For example, to search the effectiveness of therapy for speech disorders in children with apraxia, your search words might be
therapy speech children apraxia
You can probably omit disorder—therapy implies a disorder. You can also omit effectiveness—articles on a particular therapy will discuss its effectiveness.
To limit your to articles that are peer-reviewed, click the appropriate box on the left of the results list.
As you skim the results, look for alternative words that might improve your search. Good places to look are article titles, article abstracts, and introductions to the articles themselves. You might, for example, redo your search by replacing therapy with intervention. Revising is normal.
Primary sources report original research; secondary sources review previously published reports.
You can distinguish between the two by carefully reading article descriptions, especially abstracts. Descriptions of research, whether primary or secondary, tend to use similar language—e.g., purpose (or aims), method, and conclusions. But descriptions of secondary research will use an additional term such as review or systematic review or else indicate that it is summarizing the current state of knowledge.