What is an original research article?

An original research article (sometimes referred to as a scientific or an empirical research article) is a lengthy, detailed, account of research (often an experiment) written by the scientists who did the research--not by someone else who is reporting on the research.  Start your search in a periodical database that includes professional or scholarly journals.  At TCC this includes: Academic Search Premier, Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ProQuest, PsycArticles and ScienceDirect. Before entering your search terms in the database, check the box to limit your search to  “scholarly” or “peer-reviewed” articles (Not available in ScienceDirect because all articles fit that criteria). When scanning through the list of results, look for the following: Multiple authors (usually three or more) Longer, technical sounding article titles Lengthy articles, a minimum of six pages and can be twenty or more.   

  • Read the article abstracts looking for key words such as: Study Methods Results Randomized, Double blind, Placebo-controlled    
  • Open likely articles and look for the following: Divided into sections, which often include “Objectives”, “Methods”, “Discussion”, and “Results” Charts, graphs, and tables Lengthy references list 
  • Beware of research that is created from a review of the existing literature (often called a "literature review").        

These articles can match many of the bullets above, but may not be acceptable to your instructor—ask! Get more information in our LibGuide. Who can help me with this?  Your instructors and Reference Librarians (Bldg. 7) 253.566.5134


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