Answered By: Heather Beirne
Last Updated: May 27, 2016     Views: 139

As you may know, peer-reviewed simply means that it was published in a peer-reviewed journal and that other experts in the field have reviewed that work before it was approved for publication.  Research-based tends to mean that the article describes and reports on some sort of scientific study, that has been done by the author(s).  An article can be peer-reviewed and research-based.  However, article can be peer reviewed without being research-based.  

Here is a link to a helpful video made by an EKU librarian.  It talks a lot about peer reviewed articles, but it also mentions research-based articles.  It should help (particularly beginning at around the 1:00 and 2:12 marks):   Key things to look for to confirm that the article is research based include number of pages (usually they are lengthy), whether or not the article itself contains headings such as Purpose, Literature Review, Methodology, Datasets (including charts or graphs), and Findings or Results.

To search for these types of research-based articles, you could use Google Scholar – that’s certainly an option, but make sure you have the settings configured to link you to our library’s content (look for the “Library Links” link in Google Scholar's Settings when you log in, and make sure it says Eastern Kentucky University Libraries).   That will help you zero in on these types of articles, which will come from EKU Libraries anyway, most likely.  I would suggest going right to the source and find these types of articles in just about any library database where you might search, but I would recommend looking in particular at the databases which are specific to your subject. To do so:


1.) Start at

2.) Then, click on the Databases link below the main search box.


3.) On the page that appears, use the dropdown menu labeled “All Subjects” to find the most relevant subject in the list.  


4.) Try searching some of these subject-specific databases for your topic alongside keywords like quantitative, qualitative, study, case study, action research, focus group, mixed methods, etc.  These are words that are used to describe particular methodologies in research and they will help you zero in on research-based articles. 

If your articles also need to be peer-reviewed, be on the lookout for ways to limit to peer-reviewed scholarly journals on the lefthand side of the page in most of the databases.

For more assistance, please don't hesitate to contact a librarian.