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Structure of a Research Article

In order to read a research article quickly, it helps to understand the structure of a research article.

  • Abstract - Summary of the entire article
  • Introduction - Information on the research and why it is important
  • Literature Review - A review of previous research 
  • Methodology - Very descriptive details on how the study was conducted, the subjects/participants of the study, and the testing conditions
  • Results - The data from the study
  • Discussion - A review of the data; did it prove or disprove the thesis?
  • Conclusion - The results are discussed and their significance is explained; Also gives directions for future research
  • Bibliography- Reference list of sources

How to Read A Research Article

Start with the Abstract

The abstract will provide you with n summary of the article.  It should describe the article's focus and the study results and conclusion. This will help you decide if you want to continue reading the entire article

Next read the discussion and conclusion

The discussion and conclusion discuss provide another type of summary of the article.  The discussion will tell you what the results mean and the conclusion will tell you what was learned.  

At this point, you should have an overall view of the article.  If you decide to continue with the article:

Next read the Introduction 

The introduction in will provide information on the research and why it is important.  The introduction should also include the research question or hypothesis.  The literature review of previous research is also included.  This will help you understand what is known about the subject/topic..

Finally, if this article proves relevant, reread the article in its entirety.  You may need to reread it several times to get a complete understanding of the article.