Anatomy of a Scholarly Article: NCSU Libraries
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(Nation et al., 2003)
Nation, K., Marshall, C. M., and Altmann, G. T. M. (2003). In-
vestigating individual differences in children's real-time sen-
tence comprehension using language mediated eye move-
ments. J. of Experimental Child Psych., 86:314-329.
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto
Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Acquisition
 pages 41-48

The title of a scholarly article is generally (but not always) an extremely brief summary of the article's contents. It will usually contain technical terms related to the research presented.

Authors and their credentials will be provided in a scholarly article. Credentials may appear with the authors' names, as in this example, or they may appear as a footnote or an endnote to the article. The authors' credentials are provided to establish the authority of the authors, and also to provide a point of contact for the research presented in the article. For this reason, authors' e-mail addresses are usually provided in recent articles.

The abstract is a brief summary of the contents of the article, usually under 250 words. It will contain a description of the problem and problem setting; an outline of the study, experiment, or argument; and a summary of the conclusions or findings. It is provided so that readers examining the article can decide quickly whether the article meets their needs.

The introduction to a scholarly article describes the topic or problem the authors researched. The authors will present the thesis of their argument or the goal of their research. The introduction may also discuss the relevance or importance of the research question.
An overview of related research and findings, called a literature review, may appear in the introduction, though the literature review may be in its own section.
On the first page of an article you will usually find the journal title, volume/issue numbers, if applicable, and page numbers of the article. This information is necessary for you to write a citation of the article for your paper.

The information is not always neatly outlined at the bottom of the first page; it may be spread across the header and footer of the first page, or across the headers or footers of opposite pages, and for some online versions of articles, it may not be present at all.

Charts, Graphs, and Equations

Scholarly articles frequently contain charts, graphs, equations, and statistical data related to the research. Pictures are rare unless they relate directly to the research presented in the article.

Article Text

The body of an article is usually presented in sections, including an introduction, a literature review, one or more sections describing and analyzing the argument, experiment or study. Scientific research articles typically include separate sections addressing the Methods and Results of the experiment, and a Discussion of the research findings. Articles typically close with a conclusion summarizing the findings. The parts of the article may or may not be labeled, and two or more sections may be combined in a single part of the text. The text itself is typically highly technical, and assumes a familiarity with the topic. Jargon, abbreviations, and technical terms are used without definition.


A scholarly article will end with a conclusion, where the authors summarize the results of their research. The authors may also discuss how their findings relate to other scholarship, or encourage other researchers to extend or follow up on their work.

Most scholarly articles contain many references to publications by other authors. You will find these references scattered throughout the text of the article, as footnotes at the bottom of the page, or endnotes at the end of the article.
Most papers provide a list of references at the end of the paper. Each reference listed there corresponds to one of the citations provided in the body of the paper. You can use this list of references to find additional scholarly articles and books on your topic.