Research articles in scientific journals present the original data and findings of the researchers involved in the experiment or study.
These articles usually include sections for Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRaD format) to match the scientific method.
The sections help with identifying a primary source and often contain standard pieces of information.
It is important to understand which sections of a research article contain useful information to save time and effort. The order in which to read the sections is determined by the project. For example, a student researching a topic should start with the introduction while a scientist designing an experiment should start with the methods.
Title gives the primary keywords (often as technical jargon) describing the research and reflects the core contents of the article. It appears as part of the article details.
Article details usually include these pieces of information:
UAB PREFIX = http://ezproxy3.lhl.uab.edu/login?url= [required for off campus access to restricted content]
DOI PREFIX = https://doi.org/
DOI = 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007357
UAB HYPERLINKED DOI = http://ezproxy3.lhl.uab.edu/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007357
Abstract gives a brief overview of the article.
Abstracts usually include these pieces of information:
Introduction (or background) gives background information about the topic and states the research question.
Introductions usually include these pieces of information:
Introductions reveal the purpose of the research starting broadly then narrowing down to a specific question (inverted pyramid).
Source: Regoniel, P. A. (2014, March 7). How to write a good
thesis introduction: From general to specific. Retrieved from
Methods (or materials and methods) gives the technical details about how the research was carried out and serves as a blueprint for replication.
Methods usually include these pieces of information:
Results gives the outcomes of the research without interpretation of their meaning.
Results usually include the following information:
Discussion gives the interpretation of the results and implications of the research. Since data may be interpreted in different ways, it is important to remember that the discussion is the opinions of the authors and not necessarily facts.
Discussions usually include these pieces of information:
Conclusion gives a summary of the research especially the major findings and their impact on science. This section may appear as part of the discussion without a heading.
Conclusions usually include these pieces of information:
References gives the sources cited in the article. It may be used to find other references on the topic.
Bibliographic details usually include these pieces of information: