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Nutrition 210: Original Research Studies

Typical Parts of Primary/Original Research Studies

For this assignment, you are asked to locate primary/original research studies.

Primary Sources in the Sciences:

  • Report original research, ideas, or scientific discoveries for the first time
  • Report results/findings/data from experiments or research studies
  • May also be referred to as primary research, primary articles, or research studies
  • DO NOT include meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews - these are secondary sources
  • Are frequently found in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals
  • Should explain the research methodology used (randomized controlled trial, etc)
  • Frequently include methods, results, and discussion sections
  • Are factual, not interpretive


Typically, Primary journal articles will have a common structure that includes:

  • Title: briefly states what the article is about
  • Abstract:summarizes the whole article
  • Introduction: establishes the context for the research: the area in which the research takes place, the research problem, the importance of the research, and the guiding question or hypothesis
  • Methods/Methods & Materials: describes the research procedure
  • Results: reports the outcomes of the research procedure
  • Discussion: interprets the results, explaining them and comparing them to the results of other experiments
  • Conclusion: focuses the reader on what is important about the research, its contribution to the larger area of study
  • References: lists the sources used in the article


However make sure to avoid meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews - these are secondary sources. Examples of secondary sources are:

  • Publications about the significance of research or experiments
  • Review of the results of several experiments or trials
  • Analysis of a clinical trial
  • Letters to the editor, editorials, perspectives, etc.

Note that meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews may have a "Methods" section too, however the methods will indicate, for example, that the authors have searched particular databases on a topic and then analyzed the results or have evaluated the important research articles on a topic -- 





Parts of Primary/Original Research