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Did you know?

Did you know that you can search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time?

To do this, click on "Choose Databases" link above the search boxes. The database in which you are seaching will already be checked (eg. Academic Search Complete).

Using the check boxes, select:

  • Humanities Source

Once you've selected all the databases you would like to search, scroll down the screen and click OK.

At this point your screen will refresh and the name of your original database will be followed by "Show all." You are now searching multiple databases at once.

What is a primary article?

A primary source is ALWAYS:


-written/recorded first-hand by somebody who was there at the time of the event (or experiment)

i.e. Your grandmother's diary from when she was a child is a primary source.  The paper you wrote about it is a secondary source. 

A good example of a primary article in the field of psychology:

Kraft, T. L., & Pressman, S. D. (2012). Grin and bear it: The influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychological Science, 23, 1372-1378.  doi:10.1177/0956797612445312


For more information about Primary vs. Secondary (or even Tertiary) articles, please see this page from the University of Toronto. 

Typical characteristics of a Psychology primary article?

  • Presents original data and ideas from a scientific investigation reported by scientist and written for others in the field.
  • Reports the results of experiments, observations, and other scientific investigation.
  • The body of the article usually contains the following sections:
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Methods (or Materials and Methods)
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Acknowledgements, and  Literature Cited (or References)

Examples of Journals: Science, Nature, Ecology (although they may have some secondary articles such as reviews or brief news items). Most of the journals from the American Society for Microbiology will include

Characteristics of a secondary article

  • Synthesizes and summarizes results of original research.
  • Describes, interprets, analyzes and evaluates the original research.
  •  Comments on and discusses the evidence provided by primary sources.
  • Written for a scientific audience or for a non-scientific audience.
  • Written by experts (scientists) or general writers.
  • Published in science magazines and may be published in some science journals.

Examples of Journals:  Scientific American, Science News, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics.

What is a peer-reviewed article and how do I find it?

A peer-reviewed article is one that has been reviewed by a body of “peers:” experts in the same field as the writer.

They are sometimes called “refereed” and are published in scholarly or academic journals.


To limit to scholarly or peer-reviewed articles, look for a checkbox to LIMIT your search in the main search screen of most databases.

For additional ways to determine if an article is scholarly, see the scholarly articles help page.
See below for a quick checklist.

In order to tell if an online article is peer-reviewed, see the Find Articles -- Peer-reviewed webpage.

How to tell if an article is peer-reviewed

Comparison of Article Types
Criteria Peer-Reviewed / Scholarly Popular / General
Length or Appearance of Source

Lengthy, in depth. Often includes tables, graphs, statistics.

Serious appearance, not heavily graphic.

Generally includes abstract and citation list.

Purpose of the articles is usually to present original research or experiments.

Shorter, overview-type articles. Popular style.

Does not usually include abstract or citation list.

Includes many advertisements aimed at a general audience.

Purpose of the articles is more to entertain.
Author or Editor

Scholars, experts.

Credentials often included (PhD, MD, MPH, etc.)

Peer reviewed, refereed or juried: critically evaluated by a knowledge panel of experts.

Reporters, staff writers.

Credentials not usually included.

Reviewed by the editorial staff, not subject experts.

Articles are sometimes unsigned.
Title Includes words like: review, journal, research, quarterly, studies, transactions, proceedings, archives. Often includes the word magazine.
Language Technical, likely to include the jargon of the field. Assumes some background knowledge from the reader. Non-technical, accessible by broad audience
Article Structure Traditional structure usually requires: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, references  No specific structure.
Audience Professors, researchers, professionals, experts, students; people who are already interested in the topic. General public, trying to attract an audience.

Photo of Journal of the American Medical Association          The Political Quarterly 

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

The Political Quarterly

Photo of National Geographic MagazinePhoto of Time Magazine

National Geographic

Time Magazine


Last Updated: Jul 15, 2024 11:10 AM

What's that Search for Full-text button?

Don't give up when you see the    search for full text button imagebutton!

You may be able to view the article in another database, or we can get it for you through Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery.

Visit this page for more detailed information.


My EBSCOhost is a feature of EBSCO databases that allows you to save your searches and articles for future access. To sign up for this feature, click "Sign In to MY EBSCOhost", at the top right of the screen from any page within an EBSCOhost database.