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Anatomy of a Scholarly Journal Article

Sections of an Scholarly Article

Scholarly or empirical journal articles contain the following sections, or a variation of these sections. The purpose of each section is explained below. 

Abstract is a brief summary of the study and might include a description or key points of hypothesis, methods, results and conclusions of study. Reading the abstract can usually help researchers determine quickly if the study is relevant to their needs. 

Introduction contains background information, purpose, and hypothesis of the study. This can include a literature review of similar studies. This provides context for the researcher. 

Methods section describes the approach taken in the study, including participants, instrument (e.g. survey) used, and procedures. This section is sometimes called research methods or methodologies. This section helps the reader to better understand how the study was tested. 

Results describe findings of the study, and either proves or disproves the hypothesis. Data can be presented in a variety of ways, but usually includes tables, charts or graphs. 

Discussion summarizes the results of the study and provides analysis of results in text form. Can include comparison to other studies on the same topic, and overall findings of study. 

References includes sources that were cited in the article. A reference list for a scholarly article can be quite lengthy and lends credibility to the article. 


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