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PLSC 491

This course guide provides information to support and supplement what is covered in the PLSC 491 library session.

Peer Review 

Peer-reviewed journal articles are the main way that scholars share the results of their research with others in their field. Before they are published, these articles go through a multi-step process involving research, writing, peer-review, and revision. For more information on the steps involved in the peer-review process, see:

Original Research Articles

Original research articles are the most common type of peer-reviewed article. In original research articles, authors report on the new results of research they conducted themselves, explaining what they did, how they did it, what the results were, and why the results are important. Most original research articles contain the following sections:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

They are not always in the same order, and they are not always clearly labeled.

Original Research Articles vs. Review Articles

Review articles are often also peer-reviewed and they can often be mistaken for original research articles. Below is a table with a brief comparison between the two types of articles.

Elements of original research articles and review articles.

  Original Research Review
Authors experts in the field experts in the field
Audience other scientists, scholars, researchers, students other scientists, scholars, researchers, students
Content research they conducted (what they did, how they did it, and the results) reviews/summarizes the current state of knowledge on a topic (citing research done by others)
Scope generally very specific and narrow more general/broad

For more information and tips for finding and identifying original research articles, see: