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Writing 116 (Hothem)

Writing in the Natural Sciences

Scholarly or Popular?

Scholarly articles (published in scholarly journals) are reviewed by experts before they are published.

  • Within scholarly journals, you may find different types of articles.  For example, you may be required to find a scholarly article that is an original research article.

Popular articles (published in newspapers, magazines, and other sources) are not reviewed by experts, but may be extensively researched and/or fact-checked, depending on the publication.

popular and scholarly graphic

Scholarly journals contain more than one type of article. In one issue of a journal, such as this issue of Nature. When browsing articles in databases or a print journals, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What is this piece's purpose?
  • Is this an original research article?
  • Does this article summarize the original research of others?
  • Why is this material included in the journal?

Original Research Article Example

Original research articles are based on an experiment or study.  The authors will report the purpose of the study, the research methodology, and results. This is a familiar structure for original research articles > IMRAD: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Example: The influence of electronic polarization on the sprectral density

Example: Genetic regulation of the development of mating projections in Candida albicans

Review Article Example

Review articles summarize or synthesize content from earlier published research and are useful for surveying the literature on a specific research area.  Review articles can lead you to original research articles.

Example: The effects of Sclerostin on the immune system

Example: Molecular host mimicry and manipulation in bacterial symbionts