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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

1.03 THEORETICAL ARTICLES (pp. 10-11).

Theoretical articles use existing research to advance theory. The development of theory is traced in order to expand and refine theoretical constructs.  A new theory may be presented, or an existing theory may be analyzed to highlight flaws or showing the advantage of one theory over another.  A theory's internal consistency and external validity are examined in this type of article.

The abstract for a theoretical article includes the following: (p. 27)

  1. a discussion of how the theory or model under review works, and/or how the principle upon which the theory or model is based
  2. what the theory or model accounts for, and connections to empirical results.


Armitage, C. (2009). Is there utility in the transtheoretical model?. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14(2). 195-210.

           doi: 10.1348/135910708X368991.