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How-To: Identify Types of Scientific Journal Articles

This guide will allow you to identify scholarly journal articles.

Types of Journal Articles


Empirical studies report original research, highlighting the different steps in the research process. Elements typically found in an empirical study include:

  • Abstract: (pp.26-27)
    1. provides a description of the problem being investigated
    2. includes the participants and pertinent characteristics of those participants
    3. describes the methodology of the study
    4. summarizes the basic findings of the study
    5. includes the conclusions and implications or applications of the study's findings
  • Introduction:  traces the way the problem that is being investigated has developed, and provides the purpose for the investigation.
  • Method:  indicates how the investigation was conducted; what procedures were used.
  • Results: reports the findings and analyses of the investigation
  • Discussion: summarizes, interprets and discusses the implications of the investigation results


Jiwa, M., Arnet, H., Halkett, G., Smith, M., O'Connor, M., Rhodes, J., et al. (2009). Does smoking status affect the likelihood
     of consulting a doctor about respiratory symptoms? A pilot survey in Western Australia. BMC Family Practice, 10 1-5.



*See the Related Resources tab for more information regarding methodology, and locating empirical studies.