Delta College logoDelta College: Serving Bay, Midland, and Saginaw counties since 1961

Library Learning Information Center


  Return to 


Delta College Library
Entry #8
Using  Scientific Journal
(Primary Source) Articles
Librarian's Tips

Of all these assignments, this can be the hardest to complete for you and the hardest for the Librarian to explain (on a webpage) how to find the information that you need. If you need help with this part of the assignment, or any of the assignments, please come to the Reference Desk and ask for a Librarian.

For Entry #8, you are looking for a very scholarly, original (primary source) research article. Compared to the Entry #3 assignment where the information from Newsweek was easy to read, this time you will be finding information that may be very hard to understand.

The articles may be located in journals that are so scholarly, specific, and expensive that Delta Library may not have the articles. However, if you find some citations that look good, then please ask at the Reference Desk on how you can interlibrary loan the articles for free. NOTE: not all articles can be obtained through interlibrary loan and those articles that can be sent from other institutions will take about two weeks to arrive at Delta Library. We are at the mercy of other libraries and the U.S. Postal Service. DO NOT WAIT LONG TO COMPLETE THIS ENTRY #8 ASSIGNMENT.

It may help you to take a look at one explanation of the difference between a standard article and an article based on scholarly original (primary source) research. This will give you an idea of what you are looking for.

The Librarian's tip for this assignment is to use MEDLINE OR PubMed in order to find original research journal articles. 

The PubMed tutorial  can show you how to program PubMed in order to find research studies.


There are a couple of  options for finding scientific journal (primary source) articles within MEDLINE.

OPTION ONE: Step 1: For finding scientific journal (primary source) articles using the journals located within Delta Library.

You need to get into FirstSearch.

Once you are in FirstSearch, you should see a list of indexes/databases. Scroll down the page to click on MEDLINE.



Option ONE: Step 2:

  • Make sure that you are in the MEDLINE index/database.
  • For this example, we will search for original research (primary source) articles.
  • Most of the journals in MEDLINE are scholarly journals. Chances are good that many of these journals will contain research articles.
  • You may want to retrieve citation/article records that have an abstract (summary) of the article. Abstracts will make it easier to determine which of the articles are research articles. There is a down arrow button within the white box next to "Abstract Indicator." Click on the down arrow in order to choose "Abstract" from a list of options.
  • There are quite a few articles in a foreign language. You may want to choose "English."
  • Toward the bottom of the search screen, you will see a small white box between "Limit availability to:" and "Subscriptions held by my library (EDK, DELTA COL LIBR)." In order to ask MEDLINE to find articles within Delta's Library, you need to click within the small white box in order to place a check mark within the white box. The "Full-text" option NO longer works with FirstSearch. Do NOT choose the "Full-text" option.


Click on the Search button and MEDLINE will retrieve journal articles about stem cells that can be found in Delta's Library. Each citation (record) will contain an abstract (summary) of the article.


Option ONE: Step 3: MEDLINE found over 1,000 citation/articles. Number 19 looks interesting.
(Well, interesting enough to complete the assignment.)

Click on the title "Protective conditioning for acute graft-versus-host disease."

Option ONE: Step 4:

  • The following article is a scholarly RESEARCH article that has something to do with stem cells.
  • Notice that the abstract (summary) mentions "BACKGROUND" information; "METHODS" for the methodology used; and "RESULTS" or "CONCLUSIONS" of the study. This is a very standard procedure for research articles, or studies. These words should be the clues that you need to look for. The abstract, or article, should mention these features if the article really is based on original research, or is a scholarly (primary source) study.
  • The research article should NOT JUST state some facts or background information. The research article should NOT JUST mention other findings from other studies. The research article should present the original research.
  • Good news for you for this record is that the "Source" says that this article is from The New England Journal of Medicine, which Delta Library has on its shelves in the magazine/journal section (area near the Reference Desk.)


OPTION TWO: For finding scientific journal (primary source) articles by limiting search to "Clinical Trials" or "Randomized Controlled Trial."

  • It seems like many of the "clinical trials" (but not all of them) listed in MEDLINE will be original research articles.
  • In order to tell MEDLINE to call up just "clinical trials", you will follow most of the instructions as mentioned above. However, before clicking on the "Search" button, you need to click on the down arrow button within the "Article Type Phrase" search box. Once you click on the down arrow, you need to choose "Clinical Trial" or "Randomized Controlled Trial."
  • The full-text option NO longer is functional within FirstSearch. Do NOT choose this option. IF you choose this option, then you will retrieve NO results.


Delta College - Library (A110)
1961 Delta Road
University Center, MI  48710
Phone:  989-686-9014
Fax:  989-686-4131


Delta College Seal

1961 Delta Road, University Center MI 48710 | 989-686-9000 |
Delta College is an Equal Opportunity Organization, committed to excellence through inclusiveness and diversity.
Copyright ©