Articles can be evaluated by many different criteria.
Professors will often ask you to find peer-reviewed articles. You can limit your search results in many databases, like OneSearch and Education Research Complete, to peer-reviewed articles. To learn more about peer review and what it is, watch the video below.
You might also be asked to find primary research articles. Primary research articles report on original studies, meaning that the author collected the data, analyzed it, and is reporting on their findings. Secondary articles evaluate, critique, report on, or summarize other authors' research. A literature review is a secondary article. To learn more about how to identify a primary research article, look at the structure of a primary research article in the box below.
After you find peer reviewed primary research articles, it will be your job to evaluate the articles based on how relevant they are to your research question. For guidance on evaluating your source for relevancy, take a look at the "Evaluating for Relevancy" section in the free e-book Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research by Ohio State University.
Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly or academic articles that have been evaluated by experts in the discipline. It is a rigorous, complicated process. Watch Peer Review in 3 Minutes from North Carolina State University Libraries below to learn more.
A primary research article reports on the original research and findings of the authors. Primary research articles have the following sections:
A brief description of the scholarly article in the form of a title. It should at least give you a general idea about what the article is about.
A preview of the scholarly article. It should address the purpose, method and results that will be found in the article.
Describes the purpose of the scholarly article. May provide an overview of the field and previous research in the form of a Literature Review.
Describes how the research and what type of research was conducted.
Presents the outcome of the research.
Analyzes the results to determine what potential impact it could have on the scholarly field or community.
Reiterates points made throughout the article, including potential for further research.
Works cited throughout the scholarly article by the author. The list should contain all the relevant information needed for you to find the resource for yourself.