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Best Bets

General Subject Databases

Offers broad subject coverage in a variety of subject areas.

Anatomy of a Scientific Article

Most scientific articles are structured in a similar way.

  1. Title: tells you what the article is about in the most general sense.
  2. Abstract: describes the article in approximately 250 words. Look for keywords and terms to help determine if the article is relevant to your research.
  3. Introduction:  will include general background, problem, hypotheses or research questions, expected outcome, significance of the study, and definition of terms.
  4. Literature review: examines the current research that informs the design of a study, or the approach toward a problem.
  5. Methodology: includes a description of the participants, research instrument, process of data collection and analyses
  6. Results: a comprehensive description of the outcome of the study. Often will include tables or specific numbers.
  7. Discussion and/or Conclusion: attempts to place the results in a larger context within the field. Sometimes includes flaws or problems with the design or implementation of the study, and suggests further avenues of research.
  8. References or Works Cited: Citations for every article referred to in the article. A Bibliography, by contrast, includes complete citations for every resource consulted.
  9. Endnotes or Footnotes: provides supplemental information or citations.

Types of Articles

  • Empirical Research Articles: usually around 5-20 pages and are complete descriptions of original research findings. 
  • Literary Analysis Articles: provide analysis of a particular work from a specific critical or theoretical point of view. 
  • Literature Review Articles: do not cover original research but instead look at results of multiple articles on a particular topic. These articles are valuable as overviews of the research on a particular topic.
  • Letters/Communications: Short descriptions of the latest study or research findings which are usually considered urgent for immediate publication.
  • Book Reviews: review recently published books in a particular field. Often contain critique or praise for newly published books.

Google Scholar

We suggest using the recommended databases first, but Google Scholar can offer additional sources.

Google Scholar Search