OC logo

OC Libraries

Skip to Main Content

BIOL& 211 (Majors Cellular Biology)

Fall 2021, Instructor Amy Lawrence

Structure of Scholarly Research Articles

Abstract (Summary)

The abstract, usually written by the article author(s) is a one paragraph overview of the highlights of the study, including the research question  and results, in brief.


Introduction (Why? / What is the problem?)

In this section the authors introduce their topic, describe the purpose and importance of the study, and discuss relevant historical context or  existing knowledge about the topic. 


Methodology/Materials & Methods (How)

This section provides details about how the study was designed and performed.  Ideally the methodology is clearly enough described that another researcher could replicate the study.


Results (What happened)

This section includes the findings of the study, often extensive and detailed.  Often includes data in the form of graphs, charts, lists, or tables.


Discussion/Analysis (What it means)

The authors summarize the main findings of the study, in context.


Conclusion (What was/wasn't learned)

The authors offer final thoughts about the study and what was learned, and what was contributed to the field. Often they also suggest what could have been done differently, or offer suggestions for additional or improved studies in the future.


Optional: Credit/Acknowledgement/Declaration of competing interests/Appendices

Additional sections may include acknowledgements by the author(s) of those who helped support the study in various ways.  Also, if there is a question of the study authors having a financial interest in the results of the study (for example they work for a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a drug that was used in the study), the authors will ideally state that relationship or interest to the readers of the study. Appendices may add detail or clarify points made earlier in the article. 



An extensive bibliography of other articles, books, chapters, references are usually included at the very end of the article. These are items that were used for the study or mentioned earlier in the article, or that are just significantly related to the study that was done.