Skip to main content

IRSCLibraries

Criminal Justice: Recognizing Original/Primary Research

Diagram of a Research Article

Database Login for Students

Original/Primary research is mostly found in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. When using the Libraries' databases to find these articles you can limit your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.

Your Borrower ID is your student ID.

Your PIN is your 4-digit birthdate (MMDD).

Student Database Login

 

Original Research

What is Original Research?

 

Original research is considered a primary source.

An article is considered original research if...

  • it is the report of a study written by the researchers who actually did the study.
  • the researchers describe their hypothesis or research question and the purpose of the study.
  • the researchers detail their research methods.
  • the results of the research are reported.
  • the researchers interpret their results and discuss possible implications.

How Can I Tell if an Article is Original Research?

There is no one way to easily tell if an article is a research article like there is for peer-reviewed articles in the Libraries' databases.  The only way to be sure is to read the article to verify that it is written by the researchers and that they have explained all of their findings, in addition to listing their methodologies, results, and any conclusions based on the evidence collected. 

All that being said, there are a few key indicators that will help you to quickly decide whether or not your article is based on original research. 

  • View the PDF version so you can plainly see the major subdivisions that should be present in a research article:
    • Literature Review or Background
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion
  • Read through the abstract (summary) before you attempt to find the full-text PDF. The abstract of the article usually contains those subdivision headings where each of the key sections are summarized individually.