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Finding Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Articles
Original research, peer-reviewed articles, research articles...these terms are often used to indicate that you are supposed to find articles that are academic or scholarly. These are written for a specialized audience, not the general reader. Journalists often report on this kind of research, translating the findings for general readers.
TO FIND THESE MATERIALS, it helps to know how to set up your database search to eliminate material for the general reader. See a way to use LIMIT TO in our main page search box, to set your search for the right kind of materials.
In Peer-Reviewed Journals
BUT BEYOND THIS, you must be able to tell the difference. Look for the following sections of an article, most research articles will contain these. If an article mostly does not contain sections like these, it is not what you're looking for.
A summary of the article. (Note: Abstracts appear in reviews or secondary articles as well.)
Sometimes called "methodology" or "materials and methods," this section describes the author's research methods and tools: experiment, survey, data sources, etc.
Also called "findings," this is the section of the article in which raw data are presented.
Sometimes called "analysis," this is the section in which the author analyzes the data.
The author's conclusions based on the analysis.
List of references to works cited in the article.
These standard parts of a research article may not always be labeled, and sometimes they are combined (for example, "Data and Methods"). Still, every research article indicates what methods and tools were used to conduct the research, what the results were, and how the author interprets those results.
Other Types of Articles
Not every article in a scholarly journal contains research or analysis. Scholarly journals may also include:
Literature reviews - often reviews original research
Meta-Analysis or systematic reviews - analysis of original research
Editorials or commentaries
Speeches and interviews
These are not original or primary research articles.
Other Useful Databases
Use these resources to find articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers...
Look beyond the first 10. There may be good stuff a way down the list.
Research is an iterative process. You search for information, take it in, assess it for whether it covers your topic and meets your needs, then you take what you learned from the first time and search for information again.
When you see something good, READ IT—look at the subject terms and abstract and turn those around in a revised search.
What if I can’t link to full text?
See a librarian! It may be in a different database, available in our paper subscriptions, or available from another library. We can help you navigate those choices.