How do I Identify Research Articles?
How to Read an Empirical Research Article
Rather long (12 minutes) but if you are at a loss, this is excellent.
Click the image to view the video.
These pages were created by Prof. Lois O'Neill.
Elements of a Research Article
Research articles are a specific type of scholarly, peer-reviewed article. They typically follow a particular format and include specific elements that show how the research was designed, how the data was gathered, how it was analyzed, and what the conclusions are. Sometimes these sections may be labeled a bit differently, but these basic elements are consistent:
Abstract: A brief, comprehensive summary of the article, written by the author(s) of the article.This abstract must be part of the article, not a summary in the database. Abstracts can appear in secondary source articles as well as primary source.
Introduction: This introduces the problem, tells you why it’s important, and outlines the background, purpose, and hypotheses the authors are trying to test. The introduction comes first, just after the abstract, and is usually not labeled.
Methods: Tells the reader describes in details how the research was conducted, and may be subdivided into subsections describing Materials, Apparatus, Subjects, Design, and Procedures.
Results: Summarizes the data and describes how it was analyzed. It should be sufficiently detailed to justify the conclusions. Sometimes called "Findings."
Discussion: The authors explain how the data fits their original hypothesis, state their conclusions, and look at the theoretical and practical implications of their research. Sometimes called "Analysis."
References: Lists the complete bibliography of sources cited in the research article.