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Spencer Intro to Research and Statistics HSERV268: What is a Research Study from a Professional Journal

Elements of a Peer Reviewed Journal Article


Sections of a Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Abstract and Author Information
  • Introduction (which can sometimes include the purpose of the study)
  • literature review  - discusses previous work on the topic
  • methodology - details about the type of study and the sample/population of the study
  • results - the findings of a study
  • discussion - interpretation of the results
  • conclusion - a brief summary of the study, the findings and brief discussion of areas for further study
  • references  - all sources cited in the study (which are usually in the introduction and literature review)




First Page of a Journal Article

The first page of a peer reviewed journal article includes the title of the article, title of the journals, the author(s) and usually an abstract. There should be information about the authors background (their education and home institution). If their background isn't included on the first page look for it at the end of the article before the references (see the sixth image)

Purpose of Study and Methods

The purpose of the study should either be in the introduction or it's own section.   It will describe the purpose of the study and may go into methodology.   The methodology will describe the type of study (such as a literature review, meta-analysis, survey, or field study) along with study's population or sample.  This information isn't always present in the article's abstract so double check the methodology to verify it meets the assignment's requirements. 



The 'Results' section details what the authors found in their study.  It will often include tables/graphs/chars to display the findings in concise manner.


The Discussion section offers interpretation of the results of the article, including whether more research is needed or if any conclusions or recommendations can be made


The conclusion comes at the end of the article and offers a short summary (similar to what's provided in an abstract).  Sometimes information from the discussion will appear in the conclusion (such as suggestions for further study).   The authors' education and academic affiliations appear here.  

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