Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Parts of a Journal Article

Related post: Video: What is a peer reviewed article?.
Related post: Video: Finding Peer Reviewed Articles in EBSCOhost

Parts of a Research/Scholarly Journal Article - APA Style
Adapted from Chapter 2, section 1-13 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition
Journal articles usually are reports of empirical studies, review articles, or theoretical articles. Reports of empirical studies are reports of origina/primary research. Sometimes they appear in the "Research", or "Original Articles", or "Research Articles" section of a journal. These articles typically have the following parts:
1. Title
A simple summary of the main idea of the paper. It should identify the main topic, the variables or theoretical issues under investigation and the relationship between them. (For example, the word "Outbound" would NOT be a title for a research journal article because it is not clear what the topic of the article is, but it may be a title for a magazine or newspaper article.)

2. Name of Author(s) and Institutional Affiliation
Affiliations tell you which institution(s)/organization(s) that the author(s) belong to and it is usually where the research was conducted. It is common to have multiple authors who have collaborated on the research and the writing of the paper.
3. AbstractA brief, non-evaluative, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article.
4. IntroductionUsually the introduction describes
  • What is the problem and how importance it is
  • What have other researchers found out about the problem before (review of the relevant literature)
  • What are the hypotheses and objectives of the study
  • What are the research design and how is the design influenced by the hopotheses
  • what are the theoretical and practical implications of the study
5. MethodDescribes in detail how the study was conducted. Enables the reader to evaluate the appropriateness of the methods used in the study and the reliability and validity of the results. Method usually includes the following subsections:
  • Participants
  • Materials
  • Procedure
6. ResultsSummarizes the data collected and the statistical treatment of the data. A brief statement of the main results or findings followed by a report in sufficient detail to jusfify the conclusions. It is common to find figures and tables in this section.
7. DiscussionEvaluates and interprets the implications of the results, espeically with respect to the original hypothesis. Includes a clear statement of the support or non-support for the original hypothesis.


8. References
Lists works cited in the text of the article. Intended to get credit to the work of previous researchers and document statements made about literature. (Note: This part is almost always included at the end of a research article.)

Examples of Research/Scientific Journal Articles
Example 1: Bréban, S., Chappard, C., Jaffré, C., & Benhamou, C.. (2010). Login to Proquest to construct this search: Hypoleptinaemia in extreme body mass models: The case of international rugby players. Journal

of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13(5), 479-84. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from Health Module. (Document ID: 2141092201). This article has the following parts:

  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Materials and methods
  • 3. Results
  • 4. Discussion
  • Practical Implications
  • References
Example 2: Williams, S., Tamburic, S., & Lally, C. (2009). Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 8(3), 169-173. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00448.x. This article was published as an "Original Contribution" and has the following parts:
  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conflict of interest and source of funding
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
Example 3: Kenrick, D., Sadalla, E., Groth, G., & Trost, M. (1990). Evolution, Traits, and the Stages of Human courtship: Qualifying the Parental Investment Model. Journal of Personality, 58(1), 97-116. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.ep8971461. This article has the following parts:
  • Abstract
  • Sexual Selection
  • Differential Parental Investment by Males and Females
  • Pair Bonding Increases Male Parental Investment
  • Qualifying the Parental Investment Model
  • METHOD
    • Sub]ects
    • Procedure
  • RESULTS
  • DISCUSSION
    • Connecting Personality With Social Psychology
  • REFERENCES
(Note how the four sections after the Abstract probably forms an unlabeled Introduction section. Also keep in mind that journals may have different manuscript structure requirements.)

Example 4: Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2007). Personality and music: Can traits explain how people use music in everyday life?. British Journal of Psychology, 98(2), 175-185. doi:10.1348/000712606X111177


For additional information on APA style, view Slide# 3 "Manuscript Structure" of the free tutorial "Basics of APA Style" provided by APA.
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