Look for the following elements in articles you find. Research articles contain most or all of these sections. Look in particular for a "methods" section.
Look also for a scholarly writing style and the use of a very precise, scientific vocabulary. This is often apparent in the journal's title, which can be lengthy and loaded with pertinent key words.
Research articles may also include charts, graphs, maps, and other illustrations that visually display data results.
You can order articles and books from other libraries with Interlibrary Loan. Articles typically arrive within 2-3 days of ordering and are sent directly to your e-mail. Books may take over a week to arrive, so be sure to order with plenty of time before your assignment is due.