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Research and the Library: Using Resources WISely: Understanding a Scholarly Article

This tutorial and module will guide you through the process of library research.

Use the arrows to scroll through the parts of a scholarly article below.

Parts of a Scholarly Paper

Text of Parts of a Scholarly Paper

The first page of an article is typically where you find the following elements:

  • Journal Name
  • Volume and Issue Information
  • Date of Publication
    • In some fields that require the most up to date research, it is important to note the date.
  • Title of the Article
    • The article's title reveals the main argument.
  • Article Author(s) and Author Affiliation
    • The authors and their affiliation (i.e. a university, research organization) let you know that they are experts in their field.
  • Abstract
    • The abstract briefly describes the contents of the whole article. It can help you decide if the paper will be helpful before you read it entirely.
  • Keywords or Subject Terms
    • Keywords list the main topics, and you can also use them for future searches as you continue your research.
  • DOI (Direct Object Identifier)
    • DOI is a unique, permanent identifier. They will help you and others find the exact article and are required for some citations.

The Introduction explains why the research is important and provides background information.

If the author has conducted an experiment or used statistical analysis, the Methods section outlines exactly how it was conducted. This part can get very technical! For some projects, you will need to read through all the procedures closely, while for others you may not need to dig into the details of each step, as long as you understand generally how the research was done. This will depend on the nature of your assignment.

The Results section tells you what the researcher found during their experiment or statistical analysis.

**Many scholarly articles will contain charts and graphs. Don't skip over these! They can help you understand the data in a meaningful way. Make sure to read the title of the figure as well as the caption underneath it for the explanation.**

The Discussion covers what the results mean. This is where the researcher interprets the findings, by explaining why they are important and identifying any limitations. Reading the discussion and understanding the significance of the results is crucial!

The Conclusion wraps up the paper by restating the research question and the significance of the results. It may also suggest new or further avenues of research in the field.

The Reference section tells you where the researcher got the outside information used in the article. The citations will be in different formats depending on the discipline.

  • Take note of any sources that might also be useful for your project!  "Citation mining" is a great way to find additional information on your topic.
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