Journal articles are published in different kinds of periodicals, such as trade magazines or scholarly journals. They are usually shorter compared to other scientific publications, such as research reports.
In most fields, scholarly journal articles are considered to have the highest scientific value of all publication types. One reason for this is that before journal articles are published, they are reviewed by other researchers within the same discipline. This process is called 'peer review'.
Bear in mind that the time between writing an article and when it is published can take up to two years, so some facts may become outdated.
There are different types of scholarly articles:
Original articles present research results (in the form of empirical studies) for the first time.
Review articles are critical evaluations of other previously published studies. These can also take the form of a meta-analysis in which the results of a number of studies are used to answer a question, such as what is the recommended way to treat a certain disease.
Theoretical articles aim at developing new theories based on existing research.
A peer-reviewed original article usually follows a specific layout, including the following elements.
An article usually starts with a general background. The aim and research questions are presented as well as the limits of the study.
In the method section, the methodology, and in some cases the material used, are described. The description provided should be detailed enough so that other researchers will be able to assess the reliability and credibility of the study and be able to repeat the research.