What is the peer review, and how does it help with research papers?
A peer reviewed article is written by an expert in that field, and reviewed by other experts before publication. The peer review process checks the information and research methods to ensure accuracy. Popular or newspaper articles are written by journalists and reviewed by editors, but not necessarily people who have studied the subject they are writing about.
Here is a website with a chart that explains the difference between scholarly journal articles and popular magazine articles.
Here is a short presentation about scholarly journals.
They help with research because they provide more accurate, authoratitive, and detailed information than you will find in newspapers or popular magazines.