In order for a research field to develop, research results must be tested and disseminated.
Therefore, it is imperative to be updated concerning recent results within that particular research area. This can be done by reading scholarly journals.
A scholarly journal has a board of referees (or reviewers) who are experts within their field. They evaluate the quality of submitted articles (academically, as well as its content and language) and if the article suits the journal's subject matter. By this scrutiny articles may be admitted for publication, revised by the author or rejected. This process is called peer review and its purpose is to guarantee the scientific quality.
Journals with a peer review system may include either refereed articles exclusively or a mix of refereed and non-refereed articles. Non-refereed articles might be commentaries, book reviews or debate articles.
Scholarly articles can be of different types:
Original articles present the results of research (in the form of empirical studies) for the first time.
Review articles are critical evaluations of other published studies.
Theoretical articles develop new theories from already existing research.
A peer reviewed original article usually follows a specific formula, where the following elements are included:
In an abstract a short summary presents aim, method, results and conclusions. To this are keywords usually added that identifies the contents of the article.
The article usually starts with a general background. Purpose and problems are presented as well as the limits of the study.
In the method chapter, the methods and material used are described. The description should be detailed and thorough, so that other researchers may be able to assess the reliability and credibility and if wanted, repeat the research based on this.
Here, the results are accounted for, together with tables and diagrams, if needed.
In the discussion chapter the presented results are evaluated. Methodological considerations are discussed, as well as the way the results relate to earlier research within the same area.
All cited documents included in the article must be found in the reference list.
Content updated 2015-10-15