Scholarship is an extended conversation between researchers, and the scholarly literature in each discipline tells the story of of the inquiry that fuels the conversation. The scholarly process above illustrates the various stages and products of the extended engagement scientists have with their research and their colleagues while sharing their work.
Primary sources in the sciences, usually peer-reviewed journal articles, are the main mechanism researchers use to communicate original data and new ideas. Journal articles differ from popular sources in many ways. Take a look at this visual anatomy of a research paper created by the librarians at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Library to find out what is essential in a primary research paper.
Before publication, research articles usually go through the peer review process. Peer review starts the coversation of scholarship going! To find out how, watch this video from the NCSU Library:
How do I know that a journal is peer-reviewed? The best way to check is to look up the title of the journal in the authoritative listing of all journals called Ulrich's Periodical Directory.
The search screen in Ulrich's looks like this:
Type the journal title (like "quaternary science reviews") into the search window, then examine the results. Ulrich's will have separate records for the print and online formats of every journal, but what you need to see most is the icon of the referee T-shirt (shown below inside the red outline).
If the journal title is associated with the referee T-shirt, the content of the journal is peer-reviewed: