This guide provides research resources and citation assistance for Engineering courses

Structure of a Peer-Reviewed Research Article


Citation Information: authors, article title, journal (publication) information, and abstract--

This information normally shows up at the beginning or first page of a research article. The authors, titles, and publication information will help you create a citation in your own work for the research article. The abstract can be used to determine how well the article content is likely to fit with your research needs.Article title and header screenshot

Literature Review / In-Text Citations

This section usually comes directly after the introduction to the research. The authors go over previous research they have looked at that relates to the study they will present, and mention any connected conclusions or questions that were raised by this past research others have conducted. This section will contain frequent in-text citations so that readers can track down the related research studies if they wish.

In-Text citations -article example

Methodology: How the research study was constructed, what data was meant to be gathered

article methodology example

Data: Tables, Charts, Figures

This section may show up either before or after the "Results" section of the research article, and will include the actual figures or values collected during the research study.

Data from an article example

Results and Discussion - What the research study found and what the researchers think it might mean

After the methodology and data sections, the research article will discuss what was discovered (or confirmed) and what it seems to mean. The "Discussion" section is sometimes called "Conclusions." Note that the results of a research study might not be conclusive-- in other words, the data will suggest something, but not prove it completely.

Results and Discussion article example


This is the full list of the sources mentioned and used in the research article. It comes at the end of the article.

example References list - research article

Types of Peer-Reviewed Research Studies

An experimental research aricle should include:

  • An abstract that outlines what is being studied, and (briefly) how the experiment was set up (method). The abstract may also include a summary of the major Results / Discussion.
  • Methods / Data; Results; Discussion / Conclusion sections that outline how the experiment was set up and what the findings from the study were.
  • A list of related References

screenshot of experimental research study article from a peer-reviewed journal in ProQuest

A literature review (or sometimes: "meta review" or "review") article should include:

  • Some initial research question  or practical application / "best practice"  it identifies as the focus of the review;
  • A summary of the relevant research connected to the question, either - 
    • Chronologically (by date - common when looking at "advances" or "developments" in a field of study)
    • By theme / treatment / application (may not be in date order - a common approach when looking at "best practice" or a practical application)
  • comprehensive References list of cited studies

Types of Articles / Reports That Are Not (Typically) Peer-Reviewed

A trade journal article will often include:

  • Specialized content written for working professionals, regulatory bodies, and other people interested in the targeted industry 
  • Information on the news and policy changes in the field - a good way to find links to recent peer-reviewed studies
  • Mention of best practices or "how to do it" types of articles.
  • May or may not include a 'References' list  
  • Generally the content is not peer-reviewed, but it may be written by current professionals in the industry

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screenshot of a trade news site (

A government, county, city, or other agency report will often include:

  • Content written for lay-readers (non-experts, such as politicians, policy makers, public, etc)
  • Information on the status of tracked initiatives (may be data-related; or may not include exact field observation)
  • Mention of previous studies or initiatives outlining the problem or issue.
  • List of intended best-practices and/or future initiatives
  • A References list (may not include in-text citations) citing relevant studies, reports, and websites (often a mix of peer-reviewed research and government / trade publications). Some reports may not be formally published (internal agency data, etc.)

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WA State 2020 Report on the Status of Salmon in State Watersheds

General newspaper / news wire / feature /  articles will usually...

  • Be written for a general audience (non-specialists, not familiar with the field).
  • Include general statementssummaries of the issue at hand and/or research findings
  • Not include a References section or other list of citations (may include a link to a report or study)

(click on image to enlarge)

screenshot of a news article on graphene and its use in art preservation from Ars Technica

Interlibrary Loan - Request items from other libraries

Looking for an article, but you can not find the full-text link? We can request a copy of the article emailed to you from another library through Interlibrary Loan! This is a free service for current GRC students and staff: