Confirm that it is a scholarly article. It should be published in a scholarly journal and not a newspaper or popular magazine. The authors should be experts in the field and not journalists. The article must have a reference list. If the article does not have these elements it is not scholarly, and it cannot be a research article.
It must be original research conducted by the authors of the research article. They ran surveys, did the experiments, collected data, made observations, conducted interviews or otherwise gathered material on their own or with a team of researchers.
The abstract often has clues. Look for a sentence that says something like “this study examines…” or “we did research to find…” Such statements indicate that the author probably conducted original research.
A research article is different than a "literature review" article, which is a critical evaluation of material that has been previously published.