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Parts of the Research Article: Home

Parts of the Research Article

When you write a research paper, many instructors will ask you to find scholarly research articles as a basis for your research.  A scholarly research article presents original research and is written and reviewed by experts in a field.   A typical scholarly research article has several sections that can include the:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Bibliography or reference list


Each part of the research article above has a specific purpose for the reader.  


The abstract is a succinct summary of a research article, usually only a paragraph long.  The abstract should tell readers whether an article will be useful for their research.


The introduction gives background information on the topic or problems that the research article addresses.  The introduction usually includes a problem statement, which describes a specific problem that the researchers are trying to solve.  The introduction can also include a literature review, intended to critically evaluate material that has been published on a certain topic or research problem.  A literature review is often included as a separate section within a research article. 


In the Methods section of a research article, the researchers describe the design of their study and how it was carried out.  This may include a description of any instrument used to collect quantitative or qualitative data, the sample or participants, how data was gathered, and any statistical analysis of data.    


The Results section of a research article reports the findings of the study, whether they come from quantitative or qualitative measures.  In this section the findings are presented to the reader, but it does not include an interpretation of the findings


In the Discussion section, researchers interpret the findings of the study and comment on whether the study answered the problem/s it was attempting to solve.  Researchers may also discuss the limitations of the study and suggestions for further research.

Bibliography or reference list

The bibliography or references section is a list of all the resources cited within the body of the article.