Scholarly articles include original studies and review articles that contribute to the current scholarship on a given topic. They are written by experts for other experts and are published in journals, many of which are peer-reviewed, meaning that they have been reviewed by other experts before being published. In the Sciences, researchers shares the results of scientific experiments. In the Social Sciences, researchers share the results of social experiments, interviews, surveys, etc.
The table below describes the components of scholarly articles in the Sciences and Social Sciences. The majority of articles in these disciplines will have the sections listed below.
|Abstract||Brief summary of the article, including research question, methodology and results.|
|Introduction||Background information about the topic, leading up to why this study is being done, and may include a brief literature review.|
|Methods||Description of how the study procedures, set-up and how data was collected.|
|Results/Findings||Presentation of the data from the study. This section often includes tables, charts, or other visualizations of the data.|
|Discussion||Analysis of the data and how the study relates to existing knowledge of the topic. The authors evaluate whether their results answer their research question.|
|Conclusion||The authors wrap up the article by discussion how their study contributes to the research on this topic and outline future potential research questions or studies.|
|References||List of resources that the authors consulted when developing their research and subsequently cited in their article.|
Even if an article is peer-reviewed, it may be helpful to know that the findings may not be that significant and that there are varying levels of scientific evidence.
For a quick read, check out Professor Liberty Vittert's article "Numbers in the News? Make Sure You Don't Fall for These Three Statistical Tricks" (2018).