- news websites
- social media
- journal articles
- monographs (scholarly books)
- technical reports
- field guides
- conference proceedings
- government documents
- data and statistics
Image courtesy of the University of California Museum of Paleontology -
Understanding Science - www.understandingscience.org. Used with permission.
Primary research articles are also referred to as original research articles. In these articles, the authors present their own original research. These articles include sections for Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. In these papers, the authors might indicate that "We found..." or "Our results show..."
For example, see primary research articles on the topic of cell polarity in yeast, from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) database.
Review articles summarize the published research on a given topic. These articles will highlight "classic articles" that have contributed greatly to the study of this topic, as well as more current research. In review articles, the authors might say "In this review..." or the article title might include the phrase "A review."
For example, browse these review articles on cell polarity, from the PLoS database.
Ask yourself some questions prior to reading, such as:
- Why am I reading this?
- What specific information am I looking for?
- How thoroughly do I need to understand this information?
Read in this order:
1. Title and Author -- Is the article relevant to your research needs? If
unclear, read abstract.
2. Abstract -- If abstract (article summary) seems fruitful to your needs,
continue to summary. Otherwise, look for better articles.
3. Summary/Conclusion -- What are the main findings and implications
of this study? If useful to you, continue to the introduction, methods,
results, and discussion.
4. Introduction -- What question(s) does this study address?
5. Materials and Methods -- How was the study conducted?
6. Results -- What did the study find? Spend time trying to interpret the
figures and graphs.
7. Discussion -- What have the authors concluded from their study? Did
the study answer the initial questions posed?
Write down key words and phrases. Look up unfamiliar terms.
The above link will give you access to:
- article databases
- electronic reference materials
- research guides
Click on the appropriate colorful tab to access each of these types of resources.
If you are off campus, you may be prompted to log in using your EIU username and password to access some of these materials.
Navigate back to this guide!