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Is This Scholarly Article a Research Study?  

Not all scholarly articles are research studies. Journals also contain articles that are book reviews, case studies, and literature reviews. See this guide to learn the characteristics of each of these.
Last Updated: Sep 26, 2012 URL: http://libguides.pierce.ctc.edu/content.php?pid=385085 Print Guide RSS Updates
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Different Types of Scholarly Articles

Scholarly journals often contain a mixture of different types of articles:

JADA cover   

See this issue of JADA as an example.

  1. Literature Reviews: summarize many studies.  Click here for an example.
  2. Commentary: informed thoughts or observations about a topic or clinical practice.  Click here for an example.
  3. Book Reviews: highlight new books relevant to the field.  Click here for an example.
  4. Research Study Reports: are written by the researchers who conducted the study, cover why and how the study was done, include data, a discussion of possible implications of the findings, and end with a list of references.  See the box to the right for specific details.  Click here to seen an example of a research study.
 

Sections of a Scholarly Research Article

The Anatomy of a Scholarly Research Article

Research study reports are written by the researchers who conducted the study and are written for other researchers or professionals in the field. 

- Cover why and how the study was done, include data and results, a discussion of possible implications of the findings, and end with a list of references (other articles on the topic).

- Contain charts, graphs, data and sometimes pictures.


Click here to see an example of a scholarly journal.  It's from the journal Public Health Dentistry.  The journal is available through PubMedCentral, the Scholarly Journals tab in this guide, or in print at the library. 

Research articles are divided into sections.  Typical section titles are BOLDED below.  Each section covers a different part of the research process or the findings of the study.


    * Abstract:  Provides a brief overview of what the paper is about, what was done, and what the results were.

    * Introduction:  Gives information on why the research was conducted, and usually explains prior research in this subject.

    * Methods:  Gives information about how the research was conducted and carried out.

    * Results /Analysis:
Explains what the data means after the research study or experiment has been conducted.

    * Discussion/Conclusion:  Discusses why the findings are significant and explains how the data supports the conclusion.

    * References / Bibliography: List of resources the author(s) referenced.  Knowledge and research is built upon prior knowledge and other studies.

For additional information about how to read scientific articles, check out the tutorials on the right side of the page.

 

Tutorials

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article by North Carolina State University Libraries

  • Excellent visual presentation of the sections of a research article.

Quick Tutorial on Reading Scientific Papers by Purdue University Libraries

  • Contains excellent tips on the important sections to read and those that can be skipped.
  • Graphics are kind of kid oriented but the info is great!

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