A primary research article presents original research performed by the authors.
A review summarizes the current research on a particular topic.
Both types of articles are usually peer reviewed and many journals publish both. Often, it’s easy to tell a primary research article from a review simply by looking at the article’s structure. Sometimes, it’s not as obvious due to the science discipline or the journal’s format.
Practice determining the difference using the document below:
The Parts and Uses of Primary Research Articles - This website contains tips on how to approach and read primary research articles. From Science Buddies, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science literacy.
How to Read and Review a Scientific Journal Article - This document contains tips on how to critically analyze a research article. From Duke University's Writing Studio.
Review articles are secondary sources that summarize a collection of primary sources. They provide a summary about the current state of research on a particular topic. Therefore, they are useful when you don't know a lot about a topic or need a broad overview.