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Journal & Article Evaluation

Parts of an Article

Abstract: An abstract is a brief summary of the main points of an argument. Some journal articles appear with abstracts on the first page. Read the abstract, and ask yourself, does this article suit my needs? Do I understand the abstract? Is this article too advanced, or not advanced enough?

·        Methods: Articles in the sciences and social sciences typically include descriptions of the research methodology. Is the methodology clearly described?

 Conflict of interest statements: Some research findings, most often in the sciences, include conflict of interest statements. For instance, these statements may include information about corporate funding sources for the research. Is the conflict of interest serious enough to encourage you to seek other articles?

Conclusion: Many articles end with a conclusion that summarizes the author’s findings, synthesizes the article’s argument, and (sometimes) offers recommendations for future research. Is the article’s conclusion supported by the research presented in the body of the article?

Notes or citations: Scholarly articles include footnotes, endnotes, or other citations for the works quoted, consulted, and referenced in the course of the author’s research. Does the article include citations? Do the citations provide support for the argument?

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Criteria for an Article


The author should be an expert or specialist in the field.

  •  Credentials: Credentials indicate the institution with which the author is associated and (occasionally) information about their education and past writings. In scholarly journals, the author’s credentials are always provided. You might need to look for credentials in various places, depending on the format of the journal. They may appear in a contributors’ list at the front or back of the issue, on the first page of the article, or at the end of an article.
  •  Past work: Search for articles or books the author may have written in the past.
  •  Recent citations: Determine if the author has been cited by other scholars.

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