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Know the Science: 9 Questions To Help You Make Sense of Health Research

1. What are the parts of a scientific paper?

Most articles in scientific journals have a similar basic structure or format. There are five important parts of a research paper, which most articles contain.


Example of a scientific journal article

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Abstract. A brief summary of the key points of the scientific paper.

Methods. Detailed information on how the study was performed.

Results. What the study showed. This section doesn’t attempt to evaluate the meaning of the results. It just presents the data, summaries, and analyses of the data collected from the study. Also, this section often includes tables, graphs, and charts that show the results.

Discussion and Conclusion. What the results mean. This is where you can often find out how the study relates to your own health. This section often includes the authors’ explanation of, and own opinions about, what the results mean. Since the conclusions are the authors’ own, others may or may not completely agree with their explanations of the results.

References. Previously published articles the authors used to review what related research was done before, to help design the study and interpret its results.