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NUR 311: Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Course guide developed by your Librarian

Recognizing Original/Primary Research

Original research is considered a primary source.

An article is considered original research if...

  • it is the report of a study written by the researchers who actually did the study.
  • the researchers describe their hypothesis or research question and the purpose of the study.
  • the researchers detail their research methods.
  • the results of the research are reported.
  • the researchers interpret their results and discuss possible implications.

There is no one way to easily tell if an article is a research article like there is for peer-reviewed articles in the Libraries' databases.  The only way to be sure is to read the article to verify that it is written by the researchers and that they have explained all of their findings, in addition to listing their methodologies, results, and any conclusions based on the evidence collected. 

All that being said, there are a few key indicators that will help you to quickly decide whether or not your article is based on original research. 

  • View the PDF version so you can plainly see the major subdivisions that should be present in a research article:
    • Literature Review or Background
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion
  • Read through the abstract (summary) before you attempt to find the full-text PDF. The abstract of the article usually contains those subdivision headings where each of the key sections are summarized individually.