This course guide provides information to support and supplement what is covered in the PLSC 491 library session.

Peer Review and Original Research

Peer-reviewed journal articles are the main way that scholars share the results of their research with others in their field. Before they are published, these articles go through a multi-step process involving research, writing, peer-review, and revision. For more information on the steps involved in the peer-review process, see the Peer Reviewed Publications library guide.

Original research articles are the most common type of peer-reviewed article. Review articles are often also peer-reviewed and they can often be mistaken for original research articles. Below is a table with a brief comparison between the two types of articles.

Elements of original research articles and review articles.
  Original Research Review
Authors experts in the field experts in the field
Audience other scientists, scholars, researchers, students other scientists, scholars, researchers, students

research they conducted

(what they did, how the did it, and the results)

reviews/summarizes the current state of knowledge on a topic

(citing research done by others)

Scope generally very specific and narrow more general/broad

For more information and tips for finding and identifying original research articles, see the Finding and Identifying Original Research Articles in the Sciences guide.

Finding Articles

Plant Science Databases

The library provides access to many databases that will have information about plant science research articles. Some of the most recommended databases for Plant Science are:

Help Finding Articles

See some of the library guides related to finding articles.

Remember to look for the Search @ NDSU button in the library databases. Clicking that button will open a new tab/window that will search the library records to see if the library has access to that article. 

If the library does not have access to the article, you can request it, for free, through Interlibrary Loan. For more information and instructions on how to use the service, see our Interlibrary Loan guide.

Tips for the Class Assignment

  1. Look for the methods and results sections. Generally, inclusion of these sections will indicate that the article contains original research. Examples: an original research article and a review article.
  2. Read the methods section. Do the methods match the requirements of this assignment?
    • Methods that work: 
    • Methods that don't work:
      • interviews, focus groups, questionnaires or surveys, is not going to work for this assignment (here is an example)
      • meta-analysis will not work either (They will have a methods section explaining how they gathered, combined, and analyzed data from multiple original research articles by other authors. here is an example)

If the article contains original research and has a methods section that fits the assignment requirements, it has probably been peer reviewed. However, if you want to confirm whether the journal uses peer review when they publish articles you can check their website for indications of peer review. Some sections to look for on the journal's website include: Aim & Scope, Instructions for Authors, Guidelines for Authors, Author Guidelines, Author Resources, Contribute, or Submit. Here is an example from Agronomy Journal

Contact the Librarian

Nicole Juve, Agricultural Sciences Librarian (more information)

In-Class Activities

Activity 1: Original or Review

Determine whether each article is an original research article or a review article. Explain your answer. (Submit responses on this Google Form: or in the embedded form below.)

Article 1

Dutta, S., Mohanty, S., & Tripathy, B. C. (2009). Role of temperature stress on chloroplast biogenesis and protein import in pea. Plant Physiology, 150(2), 1050–1061.

Article 2

Pérez-Montaño, F., Alías-Villegas, C., Bellogín, R. A., Del Cerro, P., Espuny, M. R., Jiménez-Guerrero, I., ... & Cubo, T. (2014). Plant growth promotion in cereal and leguminous agricultural important plants: From microorganism capacities to crop production. Microbiological Research, 169(5-6), 325-336.


Activity 2: Methods

Look at the methods section of each article below and determine whether each article would work for the requirements of the class assignment. Describe why or why not. You can view each article by using the links in each reference citation. Excerpts from the abstracts of each are also available on activity Google Form that is embedded below, or you can access it at

Article 1

Dutta, S., Mohanty, S., & Tripathy, B. C. (2009). Role of temperature stress on chloroplast biogenesis and protein import in pea. Plant Physiology, 150(2), 1050–1061.

Article 2

Zhang, J., Zhang, S., Cheng, M., Jiang, H., Zhang, X., Peng, C., Lu, X., Zhang, M., & Jin, J. (2018). Effect of drought on agronomic traits of rice and wheat: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5), 839.

Article 3

Liebig, T., Jassogne, L., Rahn, E., Läderach, P., Poehling, H.-M., Kucel, P., Asten, P. V., & Avelino, J. (2016). Towards a collaborative research: A case study on linking science to farmers’ perceptions and knowledge on arabica coffee pests and diseases and its management. PLOS ONE, 11(8), e0159392.

Activity 3: Assessment

Determine whether the following article is an original research article or a review article. Also determine whether it is appropriate for this class assignment or not, and explain why or why not.

Brown, J. K. M., & Rant, J. C. (2013). Fitness costs and trade‐offs of disease resistance and their consequences for breeding arable crops. Plant Pathology, 62, 83-95. 

If the above link doesn't work, try this one:

Submit responses on this Google Form: (or the embedded form below)