What Is Original Research?

Locating original research can be a challenge for even the most experienced researcher. But it can be done and here’s a few ways, aside from reading the article in full, that might help you identify original research as you go: 

  • First, you should be able to see the major subdivisions of a research article:
    • Literature Review or Background
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion
  • Next, the article should be composed by the researchers who did the study
  • Aims should be to close knowledge gaps in exisiting liteature 
  • There should be a clear hypothesis or research question and a broader purpose
  • Research methods are clearly defined
  • Results reported and interpreted by researchers 
  • Generates new knowledge 
Finding Quantitative & Qualitative Research

Interested in learning find quantitative and qualitative research?  Please visit the library’s “Finding Quantitative & Qualitative Research” guide. 

Search Strategies & Tips

Developing a research question and building a search string is no easy task. But the USA Library has you covered. Here are some useful resources gathered by our library team to help you focus your reseach and make your literature searches more meaningful:

Taking your search to the next level? Check out the library's "Advanced Database Searching" Guide. 

What is PRISMA?

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) is an evidence-based set of standards for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses.  It is recognized and endorsed by organizations and journals in the health sciences. 


How Does It Work?

The PRISMA Statement consists of a 27-item checklist, accompanied by a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist primarily serves as way for authors to improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. But it can also be used as the basis for reporting other types of research, such as evaluations and interventions. Finally, it gauges the overall quality of a systematic review.  

As describe in the PRISMA statement, a flow diagram is the graphic representation of the flow of information reviewed through the systematic review process. Check out the example below.

Sample PRISMA Flow Diagram



Citation managers help you locate, save, and organize your research. It's a great way to keep track of your sources when you're working on a large research project, like a disseration or a capstone project. The USA Library supports three citation manager platforms: End Note, Zotero, and Mendeley.

Check out the library’s “Citation Managers” guide to learn more about these helpful tools. 

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