How to Identify Scholarly Articles

last modified 2019-07-18T17:24:09-04:00


An abstract is a summary of the contents of the article.  Read the abstract before you read the article.


Almost every scholarly article begins with an introduction, offering more detail than the abstract.  If the article is based on primary research, it may also include the reasons why the research was conducted.

Literature Review

Literature reviews summarize what research has been done on this topic, and often identify a gap in the literature available that the article intended to fill. In many disciplines, articles are required to have a labeled literature review.  In the humanities, the literature review is often found scattered throughout the main body of the article, as the author responds to points brought up from different articles.


Found in papers based on primary research, this section describes the methods used to conduct the research. This allows other researchers to evaluate their validity and conduct a similar study if they so choose.


This section gives some data that was obtained from the research. It often contains graphs and tables supported by text describing the results.


The author discusses what meaning their results might have. They may also discuss the research's limitations.

Further Research

Many research articles suggest expanded future projects. This might include similar studies conducted in different environments for verification, or suggestions based on the limitations of previous research.


Almost every article has a conclusion, in which the author summarizes previous sections.

Bibliography/References/Works Cited

Every scholarly article has this section. The format will vary by discipline and the journal publishing the article. This list gives cited authors credit.  A respectable article cites sources that are deemed credible. The list also gives the reader additional resources if they are interested in reading more on the topic.