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How to Read a Scholarly Journal Article: Home

Presents the key components to an academic, or scholarly journal article and includes the process to read one.

Your reading assignment

Step 1.  Review your assignment and note any restrictions on what you can read.  Do you need a peer-reviewed article?  If so, your professor is looking for higher quality journal articles that go through the peer review process.  What about currency?  Do you need articles published within the past five years?  Do you need an empirical study or a case study or a literature review?

 

Step 2.  READ the articles out-of-order.   

Typical Order of Journal Article Sections:                                                

Abstract
Introduction
Literature Review
Methods
Results
Discussion
Conclusion

 

Recommended Reading Order:

1.  ABSTRACT
2.  CONCLUSION
3.  DISCUSSION
4.  INTRODUCTION
5.  METHODS
6.  RESULTS
7.  LITERATURE REVIEW
8.  REFERENCES

 


 

 

Reading a Scholarly Article: sample video

http://youtu.be/3SmOq6gENPM

Brought to you by Western Libraries (2.5 minutes).

Key components of scholarly journal articles

While some variation occurs in the way journals format research articles, most contain some standard information:

1.  ABSTRACT:  most articles begin with a brief paragraph that summarizes the entire article.

2.  INTRODUCTION:  this section introduces the topic of the article completely and discusses what the article contributes to the existing knowledge  on the topic.  This section should contain the problem statement, the literature review, the purpose and expected results (hypothesis).

3.  LITERATURE REVIEWthe review of literature discusses previous work on the topic, points out the remaining questions, and relates the research presented in the rest of the article to the existing literature on the topic.

4.  METHODS:  this section expounds on the methods used to conduct the study or experiment being reported.  It should define the subjects of the study/experiment, the instruments used, the procedure employed, and the data analysis.  It answers the question:  What did the author find and how was it found?

 5.  RESULTS:  presents the results of the study/experiment without interpretation of their meaning.  It summarizes the results and presents findings using text, chart, graphs, and tables.

6.  DISCUSSION:  analyzes the findings.

7.  CONCLUSION:  is the final section.  It places the research in a larger context, explains the significance of the research, and discusses where future research on the topic may be headed.

Subject Guide

Kathleen Kroll's picture
Kathleen Kroll
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