Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

BMB 465: Protein Structure and Function

Primary Research Articles vs. Review Articles - How can I tell the difference?

Differentiating between original research articles and review articles can be a bit tricky.  Both types of articles are considered "scholarly" and appear in peer reviewed journals.  However, it is an essential skill in the sciences to be able to differentiate between the two types of articles.  In this class, you will need to find primary journal articles (original research articles).  Below is information to assist you in determining what type of resource you are viewing. 




Research Article

Author(s) present new set of findings from original research after conducting an original experiment.

Typically contains the following distinct sections:

  • Methods (possibly the variation Methods & Materials)
  • Results (including charts, graphs, and statistical tables)
  • Discussion

Young L, Salomon R, Au W, Allan C, Russell P, Dong Q. 2006. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) expression pattern in human prostate tissues and ODC trangenic mice. J Histochem Cytochem. [accessed 2017 Jan 5]; 54(2): 223-229.

Review Article

Author(s) analyze and summarize existing research.

Often focus on a general topic and bring together all relevant, useful articles on that topic in one article.

Do not contain sections such as Methods or Results because they did not conduct original research.

References within a review article can help you locate primary research articles on a topic!

Hayashi S, Murakami Y. 1995. Rapid and regulated degradation of ornithine decarboxylase. Biochem J. [accessed 2017 Jan 5]; 306(1): 1-10.

How to Read & Use Scholarly Scientific Articles

Intimidated and frustrated by that 15 page scientific article?  Use the links below to learn how to navigate scientific journal articles.