Skip to Main Content

CHEM 2131: Chemistry of the Elements

Recommended databases

Primary research articles vs review articles

A primary research article presents a first report of original research. It's written by the people who performed the research, and it's usually written for other researchers in the same field. 

Typical organization of a primary research article: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References cited. This formal structure is sometimes referred to by its acronym: IMRaD.

Example of a primary research article: Bramhanwade, K.; Shende, S.; Bonde, S.; Gade, A.; Rai, M. Fungicidal activity of Cu nanoparticles against Fusarium causing crop diseases. Environmental Chemistry Letters 2016,14, 229-235.

The structure is designed to be a practical and efficient means of delivering information. It also ensures that key points will be covered in the article, including:

•a description of how the research was conducted (so it can be repeated and verified)
•the research findings of the study
•the significance of those findings.


A scholarly review article is a special type of peer-reviewed article that provides an overview of an area of research; it describes major advances, discoveries, and ongoing debates in that field. It can be very useful to look for review articles if you are new to an area of research.

Typical organization of a scholarly review article:  Title, Abstract, Introduction, There might be a description of the methods used to gather the articles for the paper, Various subject headings that describe the subject reviewed, References cited

Example of a scholarly review article: Kasana, R. C.; Panwar, N. R.; Kaul, R. K.; Kumar, P. Biosynthesis and effects of copper nanoparticles on plants. Environmental Chemistry Letters 2017,15, 233-240.