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Nursing@Simmons - Nursing 410 Research Methods: Research and Review Articles

This course guide is designed to support the 2SN students in NURS 410 and covers Library resources and tools, effective search strategies and examples of scholarly research formats.

What's on this page?

Here you will find descriptions, criteria, and examples of research and review articles.  Once you understand the differences between research and review articles, see the Qualitative and Quantitative Articles and Types of Review Articles pages for more information.

Research Articles

Research articles describe an original study that the author(s) conducted themselves.

They will include a brief literature review, but the main focus of the article is to describe the theoretical approach, methods, and results of the authors' own study.

Is it a Research Article?

Look at the abstract or full text of the journal article and consider the following:

  • Was data collected?
  • Were there surveys, questionnaires, interviews, interventions (as in a clinical trial)?
  • Is there a population?
  • Is there an outline of the methodology used?
  • Are there findings or results?
  • Are there conclusions and a discussion of the significance?

Research articles use a standard format to clearly communicate information about an experiment. A research article usually has 7 major sections:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction/Objective
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusion

A research article has a hypothesis, a method for testing the hypothesis, a population on which the hypothesis was tested, results or findings, and a discussion or conclusion.

Review Articles

Review articles summarize the current state of research on a subject by organizing, synthesizing, and critically evaluating the relevant literature. They tell what is currently known about an area under study and place what is known in context. This allows the researcher to see how their particular study fits into a larger picture.

Review articles are NOT original research articles. Instead, they are a summary of many other original research articles. When your teacher tells you to obtain an "original research article"or to use a primary source, do not use an article that says review.

Learn more!  Nursing Online Resources & Research

Is it a Review Article?

Review articles are NOT original research articles. Instead, they are a summary of many other original research articles. 

Look at the abstract or full text of the article and consider the following:

  • Is it described as a review?
  • Is there a search strategy outlined?
  • Does the majority of the article focus on previous studies?

Learn more!  Nursing Online Resources & Research