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HUN 1201 - Nutrition Research: Analyzing a Primary Research Article

Having trouble? Questions to help you decide if your article is an original research article

  • Is the information original/unmediated (primary source) or is it analysis/a summary of findings/an opinion/or otherwise mediated information (secondary source)?

  • Does the method section include participants (primary source) or does it describe what databases were searched or how a search was conducted (secondary source)? If the method section describes what databases were searched, most likely it is some type of review or analysis, which is a secondary source (e.g. systematic review, literature review, meta-analysis, scoping review). For more information on types of reviews, please see this page by Duke University medical center library and archives on Types of Reviews

  • Is the study a quality improvement (QI) study, which is designed for a particular setting? While this is original research, it is better to avoid quality improvement studies because the study was done for the benefit (quality improvement) of that particular setting. The external validity (whether or not results can apply to different settings) is poor, and therefore the results may not be generalizable to other situations. For more information, please see this Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute page on Quality Improvement vs. Research

  • Or do the authors describe the study as a preliminary study or a feasibility study or a pilot study? This type of study is a "study lite” and is designed to test if it is worth doing a full rigorous study.  While this is original research, it is better to avoid preliminary, feasibility, or pilot studies and use a complete study instead. For more information, please see this book chapter on "Preliminary studies and pilot testing."

How to Analyze a Research Article

APA Style: Research Article Activity

"This activity will help students learn how to find, cite, analyze, and summarize a scholarly research article. For each step of the activity, type your responses directly into the text fields provided, or copy the questions into your preferred word-processing program and answer them there. Complete this activity multiple times to help you write papers such as literature reviews."

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

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APA Style Printable Handout

APA Style Reference Guide for Journal Articles, Books, Edited Book Chapters

Use the Journal Article template to check your reference citation and make sure it is correct. Note the details for the different sections and the punctuation used between each section. 

Smarter than the Filter Finding the Research Article Among the Imposters

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How to Read a Scholarly Article

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