A primary research article reports on an empirical research study conducted by the authors. It is almost always published in a peer-reviewed journal. This type of article:
- Asks a research question or states a hypothesis or hypotheses
- Identifies a research population
- Describes a specific research method
- Tests or measures something
- Includes a section called "method" or "methodology." This may only appear in the article, not the abstract.
- Includes a section called "results."
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):
- Literature reviews
- Meta-Analyses/Review articles (These are studies that arrive at conclusions based on research from many other studies.)
- Chapters in books
- Encyclopedia articles
- Speeches and interviews