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LIB 220: Intro to Interpersonal Communication for Health Professionals: Original Research Articles

See recommended places to find articles for this class.

What is an Original Research Article?

An original research article (also called a research article, primary research article, or empirical research article) describes all aspects of a study that was conducted by the same people who wrote the article.

Is it Scholarly?

A good scholarly source should:

-Have authors with appropriate credentials, such as advanced degrees in the subject area

-Contain citations to show what information the article is building off of

-Present the information in an unbiased fashion

-Share the results of a study, a review of the literature, or other substantive information, written for an audience of other scholars and researchers

Are all scholarly articles peer-reviewed?

Not necessarily, which is why it's important to check.

On the other hand, is a peer-reviewed journal automatically scholarly?

 As a rule, yes: being peer-reviewed is a big hint that a journal is scholarly.

What Does a Research Article Look Like?

There are a few things you should look for when trying to determine if a source can be considered an original research article.

First is the inclusion of specific sections, such as Methods and Materials, Results, and Discussion. Often these will be included in both the abstract and the article itself. Not only should these sections exist, but they should provide details as well - enough so that the study could be replicated based on this information.

Below is an abstract from the original research article "Cancer patients, physicians, and nurses differ in their attitudes toward the decisional role in do-not-resuscitate decision-making" from the journal Supportive Care in Cancer:



Second, although it sounds silly, another thing to look for within the text of the article is the authors referring to the research they themselves did, as shown in the example below (also from the previously mentioned article). This shouldn't be the only criteria you look for, but if it goes along with what's mentioned above, may also be helpful to note.



For more information on identifying different types of academic articles, please refer to the Common Academic Sources page of the INF 220 LibGuide.


Saltbaek, L., Michelson, H.M., Nelausen, K.M., Theile, S., Dehlendorff, C., Dalton, S.O., & Nielsen, D.L. (2020). Cancer patients, physicians, and nurses differ in their attitudes toward the decisional role in do-not-resuscitate decision-making. Supportive Care in Cancer, 61.

Is It Peer-Reviewed?

In some databases, clicking on the title of the journal will bring you more information about that publication, or to the journal's website, which should state whether or not it is peer-reviewed. You may also use the Library's website to check on whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed.

1. From the Library home page ( click on the tab for Journals.

2. Type the journal's title into the search box that appears.

3. The journal should appear. Click on its title. (Note: if the journal you searched for does not appear, double check that you've searched for the journal title, not the article title. If you have definitely searched for the journal with no luck, search Google for the journal and its website or About page should make it clear if it's peer-reviewed).

4. If the journal is peer-reviewed, the final thing you'll see listed on the page that appears is "Peer Reviewed: Yes." If you do not see this line, the journal is NOT peer-reviewed.

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