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BIOL/PHIL 305 - Ethics, Science, Medicine, Tech: Types of Articles

What is Original Research?

Original research is considered a primary source.

An article is considered original research if...

  • it is the report of a study written by the researchers who actually did the study.
  • the researchers describe their hypothesis or research question and the purpose of the study.
  • the researchers detail their research methods.
  • the results of the research are reported.
  • the researchers interpret their results and discuss possible implications.

How Can I Tell if an Article is Original Research?

There is no one way to easily tell if an article is a research article.  The only way to be sure is to read the article to verify that it is written by the researchers and that they have explained all of their findings, in addition to listing their methodologies, results, and any conclusions based on the evidence collected. 

All that being said, there are a few key indicators that will help you to quickly decide whether or not your article is based on original research. 

  • View the PDF version so you can plainly see the major subdivisions that should be present in a research article:
    • Literature Review or Background
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion
  • Read through the abstract (summary) before you attempt to find the full-text PDF. The abstract of the article usually contains those subdivision headings where each of the key sections are summarized individually. 

What is a Review Article?

From Wikipedia:

Review articles are an attempt to summarize the current state of understanding on a topic. They analyze or discuss research previously published by others, rather than reporting new experimental results. An expert's opinion is valuable, but an expert's assessment of the literature can be more valuable.

Evaluating Websites

When you use websites as resources for your research assignment, it is important to evaluate them before citing them in your paper. This is especially true for sites that you find through Google or other search engines.

For tips on evaluating websites visit the Evaluating Sources tab of the Research Help guide.