Primary research articles (also called empirical/clinical studies or research articles) contain firsthand information or original data on a topic that is not interpreted, evaluated, or analyzed. These articles also include components or a variation of these components: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (known as the IMRaD format).
Primary research articles are usually peer-reviewed (i.e. article was critically evaluated by experts in the field before accepted for publication).
When trying to determine if an article would be considered "scholarly," look at the following characteristics:
What is the Peer Review Process and Why it Matters?
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, "peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff. Because unbiased, independent, critical assessment is an intrinsic part of all scholarly work, including scientific research, peer review is an important extension of the scientific process." (ICMJE, 2017)
When searching the literature, be sure to choose peer-reviewed publications. The peer review process gives articles more authority. Keep in mind that not every item indexed in a peer-reviewed journal is an article (e.g. book reviews, letters).
Please note that not all scholarly/academic publications include peer-reviewed articles. See sample publications below.
Scholarly Journal Trade/Professional Magazines and Journals
Nursing (Nursing2017) is a peer-reviewed journal containing some peer-reviewed articles. The other trade/professional publications will likely not include peer-reviewed articles.
Nursing Review is a trade/professional publication with non-peer-reviewed articles including monthly features, topical opinion pieces, news articles, and profiles in the field of Nursing.