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COM 101: Prof. O'Connell's class (ONLINE ONLY): What is a Journal Article?

What is a Journal Article?

Journal articles have these qualities:

  1. Journals have plain paper pages, with no photos or advertisements. They often have charts.
  2. Articles are written in a scholarly style.
  3. Articles are often long and may be 10-20 pages.
  4. Material in the articles is reliable and accurate because it is peer-reviewed which means it is checked by specialists in that field.
  5. Writers are scholars or specialists who are doing research in that field.

These are the main parts of a scholarly research article:

 Abstract: This is a paragraph that summarizes or highlights the main points of the article. It appears at the top.

Introduction: This explains the purpose of the research,  including the thesis or hypothesis as to the outcome.

Literature Review: Journal articles use previous research as the basis for new research. Authors will mention previous studies or sources.

Method: The method section explains how the research was carried out and who participated. It may be an experiment, survey, study etc.

Data: The information gathered during the research will be presented in paragraph and/or in chart or table format.

Results: The findings of the study, experiment or research are presented and discussed.  This is sometimes called the discussion section.

Conclusion: The author explains what can be determined from the information found in the study.

There are scholarly journals in all fields.  Without limiting your search to journals, you might not be able to tell if a publication is a scholarly journal or not. Some start with the word Journal, such as

Journal of the American Medical Association

Journal of Marriage and the Family

Some journals have the word Quarterly in the title to indicate the are published four times a year, such as:

Social Science Quarterly

Quarterly Journal of Speech

If you are not sure, speak with a librarian. The next tab will tell you how to limit your search to journals. 


Other Types of Journal Articles

Review Articles:
Present summaries of previous research.

Present topics of interest to readers; theme of an issue.

Present best practices in a field.

Case Studies:
Reports on a single case of interest.

Letters to the Editor:
Communication from readers about previously published articles.

Use the Choosing Articles tab to select good journal articles.

Spot the Journal

Which title is a scholarly journal?

Spot the Journal
Wall Street Journal: 0 votes (0%)
Rolling Stone: 0 votes (0%)
Ladies Home Journal: 0 votes (0%)
Journal of Nutrition: 2 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 2