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PSY 302 – Child Development

The Structure of an Academic Article

Generally speaking, there is a common flow to scholarly articles. While not a template per se, you can be assured that the following components will be present in most articles. Learning to identify each component is a key step in the strategic reading process, and will help you save time as you screen articles for relevance. 

  • Article Title

  • Abstract: A structured summary of the article.

  • The Research Question: the scholarly question the author was investigating: it’s the “why” of the article.

  • Discussion and Conclusion: Presents analysis, and makes clear the significance. Read the conclusion before reading the whole article to see if it will be worth reading.

  • Bibliography: List of sources used throughout the present study. Useful for further reading.

Some articles reporting on research studies may have these sections:

  • Literature Review: The author summarizes relevant research on a topic in a literature review. Literature reviews are very helpful for finding more information and contextualizing the position of this article.
  • Methodology: The methodology section can be very technical: it’s the “how” section. Scan it for relevant information and read in depth if needed.
  • Images and Data Visualizations: These will tell you at a glance if your author did research that involved data, or what images were important enough to warrant inclusion. 
  • Results: The results of a study will be relevant for assessing its usefulness. Can you use these results as supporting evidence in your assignment?