To get started, choose one of the databases below. Once you log in, enter your search terms to start looking for primary articles.
Keep your topics simple.
Use the "Advanced Search" feature of the database.
Not finding what you are looking for?
You can use the library's databases to search for primary research articles. A research article will almost always be published in a peer-reviewed journal; click here for instructions on limiting your searches to peer-reviewed articles (which is often where primary sources are found).
The following are not primary research articles (they are secondary sources):
Example of a primary research article found in the Library's Academic Search Complete database: (these authors conducted an original research study)
Example of a secondary article found in the Library's Academic Search Complete database: (these authors are reviewing the work of other authors)
Look for these sections: (terminology may vary)
Scan the article you found to see if it includes the sections above. You don't have to read the full article (yet). Look for the clues highlighted in the images below.
The image below is of the first and last pages of a scholarly article. Notice the sections for abstract, introduction, conclusion, and references. Scholarly/Research articles may also contain sections titled literature review, materials, methods, results, discussion, etc.
As you search for articles in the library databases the main component to look for is that the authors did original research on a topic. You will want to ignore any items that appear to be news updates, magazine articles, review articles, editorials, book reviews, etc.
Click the red tab above (Advanced Search-Databases) to learn how you can limit your database search to peer reviewed articles, narrow the dates of your search, and limit to full text articles.
Image from from NCSU Libraries' Anatomy of a Scholarly Article