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Public Health - Guide to Internet & Library Sources

Elements of a Scholarly Article

Scholarly journal articles generally follow a specific structure:

  • Title: The title is a succinct description of the purpose of the article.

  • Abstract: The abstract provides a short, concise summary of the article, stating its purpose and its findings. Read the abstract first to determine if the article is related to your research question or general area of research.

  • Introduction: Why was this research conducted? Who else has conducted research on this topic? The problem or research question is introduced in this section. The introduction often includes a literature review, which will tell you what is already written or known about the problem. Sometimes the literature review may be in its own section.

  • Methodology/Materials and MethodsHow was the research conducted? This section tells you what procedures were used to conduct the research. Methods is the most technical and complex section of the article, making it difficult to read. Suggestion: read everything else first, and then concentrate on this section on your second reading of the article.

  • Results: What were the findings from the study? This section often includes graphs, charts, and statistics in addition to text.

  • Discussion or Conclusion: What do the results mean? Here is where the results are explained in terms of their implications.  Suggestions for future research are discussed here as well.

  • References: This section lists all the sources used by the authors when conducting their research. 

How to Read a Scholarly Article

From How to Read a Scholarly Journal Article [Video], by the Kishwaukee College Library, 2012, YouTube (