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FS HN 554/555/556: Dietetic Internship

Guide with links to resources for those participating in the ISU Dietetics Internship program.

Evaluating Web Content

The type of domain (.edu, .org, .gov, etc.) may provide some clues about the focus of the material. However, keep in mind that scholars and other content providers may choose to maintain their materials on other domains, for example .com. Also, .edu pages can be personal webpages of faculty and students - it is not a guarantee that the source is scholarly.

Typically, a good scholarly source will provide a list of references (essentially saying what resources they used/consulted).  If they are high-quality primary sources, then the website or publication is usually more authoritative.

Review Article vs. Research Article

"A research article is a primary source...that is, it reports the methods and results of an original study performed by the authors. The kind of study may vary (it could have been an experiment, survey, interview, etc.), but in all cases, raw data have been collected and analyzed by the authors, and conclusions drawn from the results of that analysis.

review article is a secondary is written about other articles, and does not report original research of its own.  Review articles are very important, as they draw upon the articles that they review to suggest new research directions, to strengthen support for existing theories and/or identify patterns among exising research studies.  For student researchers, review articles provide a great overview of the exisiting literature on a topic.   If you find a literature review that fits your topic, take a look at its references/works cited list for leads on other relevant articles and books!"

From, "What's the difference between a research and a review article?"

Primary & Secondary Sources for the Sciences

Primary vs. Secondary sources for the sciences


Definition: An eye-witness account - i.e. results are reported for the first time by the authors/researchers.

Types: research articles, conference papers, lab notebooks, proceedings, technical reports, theses and studies.


Definition: A second-hand report - i.e. results are summarized, interpreted, or commented upon by others who were not witnesses or participants.

Types: review articles, encyclopedias, magazine articles and text-books.

Warning signs that you are reading a secondary source:

  • Results are summarized with little detail.
  • Researchers, labs or groups are referred to by name.
  • Results are displayed in eye-catching graphics or info-graphics.
  • Results are discussed in synthesis with other experiments.

Your Librarian

Lorrie Pellack's picture
Lorrie Pellack
Librarian for FSHN & AgEdS;
Head of Research Services Dept.
150 Parks Library
Ames, IA 50011-2140
Phone: 515-294-5569