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HNRS 110 Global Health Morris: Beginning Your Research

A super-brief definition of primary scientific literature

Primary scientific literature, what is it and how do I find it?

Two things are true for all primary scientific literature:

  1. It is peer-reviewed.
  2. It reports actual or original experiments.

What is peer review?

Peer review is a step in the process of publishing scientific findings. An article which has been submitted to a journal for publication is critically scrutinized and evaluated by a group of experts in the field. These experts will look at the entire article for flaws in the design, method, results, and analysis of the experiment. 

How can I tell if an article is reporting an actual experiment?

You have to read. Sometimes the title is a good clue. Sometimes the abstract will tell you. Sometimes you have to read a little further. What you are looking for is the fact that the author(s) performed an experiment, got results, and analyzed and/or summarized their findings. Look for sections called "Methods" or "Methodology" and "Results" and "Discussion" or Analysis". 

Databases for Global Health Research

Great places to go for newspaper articles

Databases for primary research articles

Subject Guide

Piper Cumbo
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