There are three primary types of articles that serve as ways of disseminating information. Each serves different purposes and different audiences:
Scholarly research article: written by an expert in the field and reviewed by peers who are experts in the same area. In many databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed journals to weed out any non-scholarly content.
Professional/Practice article - Professional magazines can have articles written by experts in the field or by staff writers. The articles are only reviewed by editors for style, so they go through a less rigorous review process. The articles often do not contain reference lists.
Popular magazine article - Written for a general audience rather than for professionals or scholars. Examples include Time, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone.
Articles in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals have particular characteristics that can help you recognize them:
1. Author's name, position, affiliation (usually a university), and contact information are listed.
2. The article has clearly labeled sections. These section titles may vary, but usually include at least:
3. The article has a list of cited references at the end.
Research goes through many steps in a cycle:
Aside from searching databases by topic, another very important way of discovering research is using the reference list of the article and seeing which other studies have cited the article since it was published.