Skip to main content

HONR 490 - Timani - Spring 2019: Home

Search Tips

Primary research vs. Review articles

Research vs Review Articles

It's often difficult to tell the difference between original research articles and review articles. Here are some explanations and tips that may help:

Review articles are often as lengthy or even longer than original research articles. The authors of review articles are summarizing, analyzing, and evaluating current research and investigations related to a specific topic, field, or problem. They are not primary sources since they review previously published material, but are considered secondary sources. They can be of great value for identifying potentially good primary sources, but they aren't primary themselves.

Primary research articles are written accounts of research conducted by the authors.  The articles can be identified by a commonly used format. Primary research articles contain:

Methods (sometimes with variations, such as Materials and Methods)
Results (usually followed with charts and statistical tables)

Abstract - found at the beginning of an article, will summarize the research findings and give you a good sense of the kind of article that is being presented, so this is an excellent tool to use to determine if the item is a review article or a research article. If there is no abstract at all, that in itself may be a sign that it is not a primary source. If it is primary research, the article will discuss steps and tests done in their research or experiment, much like you write up a lab report.  

*Adapted from Ithaca College Library

Scholarly Articles vs. Popular Articles

Remember to cite it!

Always cite what you find!

Grammar & Usage

CNU ONLY Off campus access information is available.

Visit the Center for Academic Success, Christopher Newport Hall, Suite 124, for grammar and citation help!

How To ...


Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Jesse Spencer's picture
Jesse Spencer
Interlibrary Loan Department
Paul and Rosemary Trible Library - Room 189
Christopher Newport University
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, VA 23606
(757) 594-8818

Contact Us

   Make an appointment with a librarian!


   See our FAQs




   Text Us! 757-239-2428


    Call the library!

Reference: 757-594-7132

Circulation: 757-594-7133

Media: 757-594-8894


     See the staff directory!


    Get directions to the library!

1 Avenue of the Arts Newport News, VA 23606


    View library hours!

Ways to get assistance ....


Help is always available when you've tried everything else.

Use the contact information to give us a call, send an email or stop by the reference desk.  Or - make an appointment with a librarian for personalized Research Assistance.  

Trible Library provides links to other websites to aid in research and is not responsible for the content or privacy policy of those sites.