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Scholarly Articles and Journals

Original Research Articles

Research articles, empirical, research primary research, are based on original research. If you need to limit your sources to research articles, you must be able to tell the difference. Most research articles will contain the following:

Abstract

A summary of the article. (Note: Abstracts appear in reviews or secondary articles as well.)

Methods

Sometimes called "methodology" or "materials and methods," this section describes the author's research methods and tools: experiment, survey, data sources, etc.

Results 

Also called "findings," this is the section of the article in which raw data are presented.

Discussion 

Sometimes called "analysis," this is the section in which the author analyzes the data.

Conclusion

The author's conclusions based on the analysis.

References

List of references to works cited in the article.

These standard parts of a research article may not always be labeled, and sometimes they are combined (for example, "Data and Methods"). Still, every research article indicates what methods and tools were used to conduct the research, what the results were, and how the author interprets those results.

Other Types of Articles

Not every article in a scholarly journal contains research or analysis. Scholarly journals may also include:

  • Literature reviews - often reviews original research
  • Book reviews
  • Meta-Analysis or systematic reviews - analysis of original research 
  • Editorials or commentaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Conference reports

These are not original or primary research articles. 

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