What is an academic or scholarly article?
The most important characteristic of an academic or scholarly article is that it has to pass an academic quality assessment before it can be published in an academic journal. Before an article is accepted for publication, it has to be reviewed by researchers working in the same field (referees). This control process is called peer-reviewing and is designed to guarantee the academic standard of an article.
There are different types of academic/scholarly articles:
- Original articles consist of study reports and describe results obtained from research for the first time
- Review articles are critical evaluations of studies that have already been published
- Theoretical articles are reports in which the authors are trying to formulate new theories based on existing research
Usually an academic/scholarly article comprises the following elements:
- Abstract - The abstract contains a short summary of the article as well as a description of the objective, method, result and conclusion of the study. Keywords (or subject words), which identify the contents of the article, are also given in the abstract.
- Introduction - This is a general description of the background to the research. The objective and research questions are presented, together with the delimitations of the study.
- Method and material - Descriptions of the method(s) used in doing the research should be so detailed and precise that stages in the research process could be followed and reproduced by the reader. The methods ought to be reasonable for and appropriate to that which is being studied.
- Results - Here the results of the research are presented. Important data are either given textual form or by using tables and figures. Even unexpected or negative results are presented.
- Discussion - The discussion is an assessment of the results. Methodological considerations as well as the way in which the results compare to earlier research in the field are discussed.
- References - All documents mentioned in the article should be included in the bibliography, so that the reader is able to refer to the original sources.