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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research & Publication in Medicine & Health

Components of a research article

Research articles will generally have some version of the following headings, however you may not see all of these and you may see some that are not listed.

  • Title
  • Abstract – helps to determine relevance of article to the reader’s interests
  • Introduction/literature review
  • Purpose of the study/hypothesis/problem statement
  • Methodology/procedures/research design
  • Major findings/results/analysis/discussion
  • Summary/conclusion/ideas for future studies/implications
  • Works cited/references/acknowledgements
  • Notes
  • Appendices
  • Tables, charts, figures, statistical data (throughout the article)

Peer Review

A refereed or peer reviewed publication is one that has been evaluated by experts the field prior to publication. Refereed materials are significant to the research and the literature of most academic fields because they assure readers that the information conveyed is reliable and timely.

In contrast, articles submitted to non-refereed materials such as Trade Journals or Magazines are accepted or rejected based on the judgement of the editor. 

The term "scholarly publication" is often used to describe refereed materials, but this term is not exclusive to refereed material. Non-refereed materials may not by scrutinized as intensely as refereed materials, but they can still be considered scholarly.

Most biomedical research is reported/published in academic or scholarly (refereed) publications and and the articles have completed the peer-review process.

To determine if a journal is refereed, you can;

  • Visit the journal's web site (search Google using quotation marks around the title)
  • Limit database search results to "peer reviewed" literature
  • Search for the journal title in Ulrich's International Serials Directory

Other clues:

  • Little or no advertising  Any advertising that is included will directly relate to the field.
  • Black & White Text Refereed publicaitons are mostly black and white text with very few photographic material. Articles often include tables, charts and graphs.
  • Table of contents  will list research articles and non-research material such as editorials, book reviews, literature reviews, and essays.
  • Publishing Refereed journals are typcially published weekly,  monthly, quarterly, or annualy, often by a professional society, organization or research institution - once a week, once a month, every quarter, or annually. The majority of journals are published four to six times per year and are often published by a professional society, organization or research institution.
  • Editorial board Refereed journals have a peer review process. The editorial board is listed along with the organizations they are affiliated with. Information about what types of papers are chosen for publication, the selection process, the length of papers accepted, and how to submit a paper is also provided.
  • Indexing Information will include sources where the journal is indexed.

Author Rights and Copyright

Ethics in Publishing