Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

PSYC 240 Social Psychology: Elements of a Scholarly Research Article

Anatomy of a Research Article

Key Elements of a Research Article:

1. The Citation Information: Authors, Article Title, Journal Information, including Journal Title, Volume & Issue, Date of Publication, Page Numbers, and Publisher:
  • Multiple authors is common in research, as research is complex and may even involve multiple study centers. 

2. The Abstract:
  • The abstract provides a summary of an article that is useful to help you determine if the article is relevant. 

  • Research abstracts are even more useful. The abstract outlines the research study, starting with the introduction (why the study was conducted), methodology used, results, and discussion/ conclusion.


3. The Introduction
  • The introduction lays out the research study, stating why the research was undertaken, what the authors expected to find, and where existing research in the field stands. 

The introduction lays out the study and what existing knowledge says on the topic.

4. In-Text Citations & Contact Info:
  • Scholarship is a conversation. In-text  citations document the conversation and show what scholarship the authors are building on, refuting, etc. 
  • Track down citations to read more.
  • Authors provide affiliations, contact info, and credit to participants.

5. The Methodology:
  • The goal of a research study is to be transparent and demonstrate how the authors arrived at their conclusions. 
  • The method section lays out the methodology used for the study, number of participants, etc. 
  • Research should be able to be reproduced so that conclusions may be verified. The methodology provides a roadmap to reproduction. 

6. The Results:
  • The results section of the study presents the authors' raw data. Charts, tables, graphs, equations, etc. illustrate the findings. 


7. Data set up for comparison - Tables and Charts:

8. The Discussion/ Conclusion:
  • The discussion / conclusion of the study ( often the discussion and conclusion are collapsed into one ) states what the authors learned and what they didn't learn. It may suggest steps for further research or policy decisions. 


9. The References:
  • Academic literature always gives credit for ideas. Read the references list for leads to related research.  

Want to see the entire article? Open the link below. 

Reading a Scientific Paper

Open the link above for a brief tutorial on Reading a Scientific Paper (from the Purdue University Library). 

The tutorial provides an overview of reading scientific literature - why we do it and how to do it effectively.