Library Instruction

Structure of Typical Research Article

The basic structure of a typical research paper includes Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each section addresses a different objective.

  1. the problem they intend to address -- in other words, the research question -- in the Introduction;
  2. what they did to answer the question in Methodology;
  3. what they observed in Results; and
  4. what they think the results mean in Discussion.

A substantial study will sometimes include a literature review section which discusses previous works on the topic. The basic structure is outlined below:

  • Author and author's professional affiliation is identified
  • Introduction
  • Literature review section (a discussion about what other scholars have written on the topic)
  • Methodology section (methods of data gathering are explained)
  • Results
  • Discussion section
  • Conclusions
  • Reference list with citations (sources of information used in the article)