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Public Health 111 (Yen): How to Read a Scholarly Article

Anatomy of an Article

Articles in the Sciences

Sample article: Racial Disparities in Patient Characteristics and Survival After Acute Myocardial Infarction

Scientific research articles include original studies and review articles that contribute to the current scholarship on a given topic. 

The table below describes the components of scholarly articles in the Social Sciences and Physical 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.

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article: Interactive Tutorial

Original Research Vs. Review

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.

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.