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Research Guide

Based on Sandra Riggs' Research Basics Guide

Scholarly articles

Scholarly is a general term that refers to to articles written by scholars or professionals in a field.

Peer review is a specific term describing the process for examining and evaluating primary research for publication in journals. 

Are all articles in scholarly journals peer-reviewed, primary research?

No. If you have access to our databases (on-campus or with the GALILEO password), click the examples below.

  • Information/Opinion Column: An essay that is often targeted to the practitioners of the field (doctors, teachers, counselors, etc.). Sometimes written in first person. -- example
  • Book review/essay: Much longer than popular books reviews, they usually compare similar works, and contain a detailed bibliography -- example
  • Reader Letters/Response Articles/Errata: Sometimes people respond to an article published in a previous issue. These may be informal letters, or they may be very structured debates that cite other literature. There may be cases in which someone reports an error or corrects misprints of data. A letter may also describe recent research, but the letter has not gone through the peer review process -- example

Always check with your instructor, if you are required to find scholarly articles. Often instructors only want primary research articles, so make sure you know what type you need.

Parts of a Research Article

  • Title - often long and technical.

  • Author Information - author name, affiliation (ex: university or laboratory) and contact information.

  • Citation - article title, journal or source name, volume and issue information and pagination. Also, DOI numbers are used in APA style.

  • Abstract - a summary of the whole article. 

  • Introduction - outlines the problem being examined -- the purpose or hypothesis.

  • Methodology - how the research or experiment was performed. In order for an experiment to be reproduceable, methodology must be thoroughly described.  This may include discussion of materials and subject selection.

  • Data/Results - data in tables, charts, figures, or illustrations.

  • Discussion/Conclusions - explains and interprets the results, drawing a final conclusion about the problem.  Primary research may bring new information to the discipline, or may confirm or dispute previous findings.

  • References - sources given in a consistent style.