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Nursing Research: Reading and Understanding Research

Research Concepts

Study Guide for Critically Reading Research Articles

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Primary sources are original materials or evidence. In your field, you may be looking for "primary research articles," or articles that describe a study and provide the study results. An example of a primary source is a randomized controlled trial.

Secondary sources analyze, interpret or synthesize the primary materials. An example of a secondary source is a systematic review. These reviews compile randomized controlled trials and other studies to provide the reader with a picture of the research on a specific topic. 

Understanding Research Tables

These links help you understand the parts of a research table, how to read a research table, and how to use tables when you articulate your research results.