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What Kind of Article Do I Need?: What Is a Research Article?

What Is a Research Article?


Research articles should include a hypothesis, a proposed question.  Does the article propose an assumption to be tested?  Remember the scientific method.

  1.  Research articles should include a methods section, a description of the subjects, procedures and tools used.  Does the article describe the process of testing the research question?  It should explain who, what, when, where and how the research was conducted.
  2. Research articles should include findings, an explanation of conclusions.  Does the article explain what was found after the study?   
  3. Research articles should include suggested further research.  Does the article give an analysis of the implications from the findings?
  4. Research articles should be peer-reviewed.  This is a standard preference of most professors.  Research articles should be from a peer-reviewed journal.  See the Different Types of Articles tab in this guide for more information about peer-reviewed articles and how to find them in the library.


  1. Research should not be an opinion-based document.  
  2. Research articles should not be newspaper articles.  Did you find the article in a newspaper or magazine?  
  3. Research articles should not be editorials.  Is the article from the author's opinion? 
  4. Research articles should not be book or test reviews.  Is it an evaluation of a book or measurement tool?    
  5. Research articles should not be columns giving advice.  Can you summarize your article with a statement beginning with "how to"?

(Source: University of South Alabama Online Learning Lab: Research vs. Non-Research Articles)

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