Is it a research article?
Below are a list of key features to look for when trying to identify articles on original research--studies designed for the purpose of expanding knowledge or understanding:
Is it a peer-reviewed journal article?
To determine if research articles are published in a peer-reviewed journal/publication--meaning that the periodical's contents are evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field--it may be necessary to check out the publisher's Website. Look under the "About" section for the journal in which the article appears to see the process used to determine what article submissions are included in their publications .
Below is a video tutorial created by the Kishwaukee College Library (Malta, IL) that provides tips on how to better understand and evaluate research articles. A number of questions to ask yourself while skimming articles is provided. These questions should help you determine if articles are relevant to your needs or not before you invest a lot of time reading them entirely.
Wikipedia is a popular free online encyclopedia that is written collaboratively through contributions from its readers. While it may be a useful tool to to help familiarize you with certain topics, Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source to cite when doing academic research. Investigations at the college-level require that you consult the scholarly community and respect established standards set by your field of study.
Below is a video tutorial created for Cooperative Library Instruction Project (CLIP) --a partnership between Chemeketa Community College, Lane Community College, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, and Willamette University whose mission was to design and develop sharable, web-based tutorials to assist in library instruction and information literacy--that offers some suggestions on how to use Wikipedia in early stages of the academic research process.