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Sources for education-related topics

Evaluating Articles

Articles can be evaluated by many different criteria.

Peer Review

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.

Original Research

You might also be asked to find original research articles. Original research articles, also called primary or independent research, report on new 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.

How to Evaluate Your Artices

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.

An original research article (also called primary scientific literature) is an article that is reporting on research about data collection and analysis that has not been previously published. That might be the results of new experiments, or newly derived models or simulations.

To identify if your article is original research, seek out a description of the author's methods. If the authors have detailed ways in which they have collected and analyzed data to come to new conclusions, it is most likely original research!

If you have any questions, ask!