Primary research articles (quantitative or qualitative) are written by professionals for professionals. They do not teach you about a topic the way a textbook does. A research article describes a specific research question, the process the researchers used to explore it, and their findings.
Here are some examples of research study articles:
Cossette, S., Frasure-Smith, N., Robert, M., Chouinard, M., Juneau, M., Guertin, M., & ... Kayser, J. W. (2012). A pilot randomized trial of a smoking cessation nursing intervention in cardiac patients after hospital discharge. Canadian Journal Of Cardiovascular Nursing, 22(4), 16-26.
Regan, S., Reyen, M., Lockhart, A., Richards, A., Rigotti, N., Regan, S., & ... Rigotti, N. A. (2011). An interactive voice response system to continue a hospital-based smoking cessation intervention after discharge. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 13(4), 255-260. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntq248
A primary research article reports on a study conducted by the authors. It is almost always published in a peer-reviewed journal. This type of article:
Words to look for as clues include: analysis, study, investigation, examination, experiment, numbers of people or objects analyzed, content analysis, or surveys.
To contrast, the following are NOT primary research articles (i.e., they are secondary sources):
* While you cannot use literature reviews as key articles to answer your PICO(T) question, they can be very helpful. Look at the list of references to find great articles about your topic!