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Genghis Khan: Research Articles & Literature Review Articles

Elements of a Research Article

Elements of a Research Article

Research articles are a specific type of scholarly, peer-reviewed article. They typically follow a particular format and include specific elements that show how the research was designed, how the data was gathered, how it was analyzed, and what the conclusions are. Sometimes these sections may be labeled a bit differently, but these basic elements are consistent:

Abstract: A brief, comprehensive summary of the article, written by the author(s) of the article.This abstract must be part of the article, not a summary in the database. Abstracts can appear in secondary source articles as well as primary source.

Introduction: This introduces the problem, tells you why it’s important, and outlines the background, purpose, and hypotheses the authors are trying to test. The introduction comes first, just after the abstract, and is usually not labeled.

Methods: Tells the reader describes in details how the research was conducted, and may be subdivided into subsections describing Materials, Apparatus, Subjects, Design, and Procedures.

Results: Summarizes the data and describes how it was analyzed. It should be sufficiently detailed to justify the conclusions. Sometimes called "Findings." 

Discussion: The authors explain how the data fits their original hypothesis, state their conclusions, and look at the theoretical and practical implications of their research. Sometimes called "Analysis."

ReferencesLists the complete bibliography of sources cited in the research article.

Academic Article Example

Research Articles

"How to Read an Empirical Research Article"

Rather long (12 minutes) but if you are at a loss, this is excellent

How Do I Identify Literature Review Articles?

How do I Identify Literature Review Articles?

A literature review article is a discussion of the published information in a particular area.

  • A literature review is not primary or empirical research article. It is a critical evaluation of material that has been previously published and can be done to assess the state of the literature on a topic and to suggest steps for future research. A literature review is not a summary of other articles--a good review will look at the research that has been done and synthesize those elements that are similar or most pertinent to the theme you have chosen. 
  • Look to see if these questions are answered when you are determining it an article is a literature review:
    • What is already known about this area?
    • What concepts and theories are relevant to this area?
    • What research methods and strategies have been employed in studying this area?
    • Are there significant controversies?
    • Are there inconsistencies in findings relating to this area?
    • Are there unanswered research questions in this area?

A literature review shows the relationships between the various writings and how they relate to your own work. They can be of great value for identifying primary research, and for getting an overview of the research in the field.

Types of Literature Review Articles

Literature reviews can be organized and the information presented in various ways. Here are the types of literature review articles:

  • Chronological
    • If the research appears to follow a chronological progression, whether in thought or practice.
  • Trends
    • If you can identify certain trends within the research or treatment of your topic. This may be similar to chronological, but certain trends may encompass greater historical eras and be geographical, cultural, etc.
  • Thematic
    • These reviews focus on central issues or topics. While time may still be a consideration, the main focus is not the passage of time but the topic itself.
  • Methodological
    • These reviews are organized around the methodologies used in the research. The review might be an analysis of research techniques according to criteria as to whether they are valid and reliable, applicable across cultural and economic ranges, address substantive issues within the field, and the techniques used, such as qualitative, quantitative, in-depth case studies, longitudinal, and so on.