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Library Research Methods: How to Identify a Research Article

Finding a Peer-Reviewed Research Article

Select Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly when you search

Omnivore ArticleSearch, and most databases, have a button to check when you search or limit/filter your search results.
Omnivore Articles screenshots 

Advanced Search page  Search Results page

Omnivore peer reviewed screenshot

What is a Scholarly Journal? Peer Review?

A scholarly journal publishes authoritative research articles by academics or experts in a discipline.
The articles often undergo peer-review, that is they are evaluated by other experts before publication.

For more on the different types of periodicals see this chart:

Scholarly Journals  v. Popular Magazines v. Trade Journals

 

How to Identify a Research Article

Confirm that an article in a peer-reviewed journal is a Research article

Limiting your search results to articles published in peer reviewed scholarly journals is the first step. 
Scholarly Journals include other types of documents, such as essays, literature reviews, book reviews, commentary, letters to the editor, announcements, etc. So...

How do I know if it is an actual research article? 

A research article reports the original work of a scholar and will present evidence and conclusions. 


A research article must have:

  • a named Author
  • a Bibliography or References
  • PDF format available
  • more than a few pages

 

Look at the structure of the article; many academic research articles use a standard format:

  • Abstract (summary of the whole article)
  • Introduction (why they did the research)
  • Materials & Methodology (how they did the research)
  • Results (what happened)
  • Discussion (what the results mean)
  • Conclusion (what they learned)
  • References (whose research they read)

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