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Anatomy & Physiology II  

This guide has been designed to help BIO112 students with their A & P II research paper.
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Primary or Secondary? Print Page

Primary or Secondary Source?



Research FAQs

How do I know if an article is a primary research study (empirical article)? 
Primary research studies:
  • have the following parts Abstract, Literature Review, Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion and Conclusion
  • will show charts, graphs, and/or tables in the search results list in some databases 
  • often the word "study" is included in the article title (but NOT ALWAYS)
What is the difference between academic, scholarly, and peer reviewed journals?
Basically, these terms are synonymous, meaning they all mean the same thing.  
Academic, scholarly and peer reviewed journals all have the following characteristics:
  • written by and for experts or professionals(nurses, doctors, professors, teachers, radiology technicians, etc.)  in a particular career field
  • often have the word "Journal" in their title
  • often contain charts, graphs, and statistics *NOTE: This usually indicates the article is a primary/empirical research study.
  • often have a table of contents on the front cover
  • look "boring" in comparison to a popular magazine cover 

Articles from academic, scholarly, or peer reviewed  journals all::

  • have a more complex writing style
  • are usually longer than 8 pages
  • have citations that include a volume and issue number
  • exist to inform other experts and researchers what is happening in their particular field of study
  • can be (but are not ALWAYS) primary research studies which will contain the following parts: Abstract, Literature Review, Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion and Conclusion

When using a library database, how do I know if an article is "peer reviewed"?

In our databases, this is easy. When you are searching for articles, the database provides an option ("limiter") to limit your search results to peer reviewed articles only.  Sometimes, the record for the article will also tell you if an article is peer reviewed. Generally speaking, if the record states that the article is published in an academic journal, then the article is peer reviewed.  If the word "journal" is part of the publication title (e.g. Journal of Pediatric Nursing), then all articles contained in that journal are likely peer reviewed.


Research Terminology



periodical- any publication that is published on a daily, weekly, or month basis (a newspaper, magazine, or journal article).

article- a piece of writing in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication.

journal- a publication that deals with a particular subject or professional activity.
database- a searchable, electronic catalog or index that contains informa about published items (e.g. magazine, newspaper, or journal articles).


primary sources- original materials that provide firsthand records of events, experiments, creative works, or statistics

Example: a primary research study or empirical article (see below)
secondary sources-  Any materials that interpret, analyze, or describe a primary source
Example: a magazine article
empirical article- a research article that reports the results of a study that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation; a primary research study
peer-reviewed- articles that are read, reviewed and approved by a panel of experts in a given field before they are published in journal. 
 (See video on the Peer Review Process for details).

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