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HUN1201 Nutrition Research: Home

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Search Tips

Keep your topics simple.

  • No need to type full sentences into the database search box.  Limit your search to 2-3 words.
  • There is no need to type "research article" into the search box.

Use the "Advanced Search" feature of the database.

Not finding what you are looking for?

What's a primary research article and how can I find one?

Are you looking for a primary research journal article? If so, that is an article that reports on the details and results of an original research study conducted by the authors themselves. 


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):

  • Literature reviews
  • Meta-Analyses/Review articles (These are studies that arrive at conclusions based on research from many other studies.)
  • Editorials
  • Letters
  • Chapters in books
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Speeches and interviews

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)

How do I know if this article is primary?

You've found an article in the library databases but how do you know if it's primary? 

Look for these sections: (terminology may vary)

  • abstract - summarizes paper in one paragraph, states the purpose of the study
  • methodology - explaining how the experiment was conducted
  • results - detailing what happened and providing raw data sets (often as tables or graphs)
  • conclusions - connecting the results with theories and other research
  • references - to previous research or theories that influenced the research

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. 

primary articles

primary article clues

primary article references

Anatomy of a Research Article

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.

anatomy of a research article
Image from from NCSU Libraries' Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

 

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