Academic journal articles are reports of an expert's original research, analysis, or review of the research available on a topic. These specialized reports are published in journals, which are publications aimed at professionals and scholars.
In general, journal articles usually have the following parts:
Journals are not always found freely online. As a Merced College student, however, you have free access to academic journals through the library databases.
Some journals are also refeered or peer-reviewed, which means that other experts have double-checked that the work is sound. When searching the library databases, you can limit your results to items that are peer-reviewed.
Because these are professional sources of information, journal articles are not the best resources to use for basic or background information. While experts do use statistics in their reports, if you need specific statistics, there are more direct resources you can use, rather than digging through the databases, that are available for free online or in library reference books.
Below is a link to a tutorial developed by North Carolina State University Libraries that shows which parts make up a journal article, such as the title, author, abstract, introduction, publication information, charts and graphs, conclusion, and references.