Skip to main content

Resource Types - Identifying primary literature

Flow of Scientific Information

Originally created by Jim Parrott.
Adapted by Jackie Stapleton, 2007.

Used with permission.


Articles for comparison exercise:

For more details on the types of publications in PubMed check out the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): Publication Types

Evolving research questions

Simple vs Critical Questions

Simple Critical

Can be answered with 'yes' or 'no' answer

Answered easily with factual information

Doesn't prompt you to ask
more questions

Should require additional research to answer

Provokes discussion

Takes into consideration intended audience,
and types of sources needed

Addresses wider issues

Prompts you to ask more questions

(Taken from "Reading, Writing, and Researching for History" by Patrick Rael, 2012)

Factors that help us refine our research question

  • Geography area (City, Country, Continent, etc)
  • Popuation group/demographics
  • Time-frame
  • Discipline 

Literature reviews

What is a literature review?

“comprehensive background of the literature within the interested topic area…” (O’Gorman & MacIntosh, 2015) 

“critical component of the research process that provides an in-depth analysis of recently published research findings in specifically identified areas of interest.” (Houser, 2015)

Literature Review Resources

Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students, by Linda Frederiksen & Sue F. Phelps

  • Examples of how to ask good research questions
  • Describes the different ways literature reviews can be done
  • Best practices to what to include and exclude from your literature review

Handout:  Chapter 4, Strategies for Literature Reviews, in Writing in Biology a Brief Guide [Print book] by Leslie Ann Roldan & Mary-Lou Pardue

Predatory Publishing

Some resources about Predatory Publshing:


Think Check Submit:


Kalen Keavey's picture
Kalen Keavey