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How do I know that the article is scientific?
When writing a thesis or dissertation at university level, scientific articles are usually the most important sources. Therefore, you need to know how to determine whether an article is scientific or not.
Characteristics of a scientific article
- Scientific articles are mainly published in scientific journals or conference proceedings.
- A scientific article must be peer reviewed by other researchers. Sometimes the article states that it has been reviewed. Otherwise, you can search the journal's website to find information about review.
- You can also tell that the article has been reviewed by the date it was received and the date it was accepted, for example:
Received August 10, 2016
Accepted October 14, 2016.
- It is written by the researcher himself.
- The author's institutional address or other affiliation is clearly stated.
- It is addressed to other researchers.
- It is usually structured according to the IMRaD model: introduction, method, results, summary and discussion, or similar. You should be able to follow the entire research process to check how the researcher has arrived at his or her results.
- It includes references in the text and a reference list at the end.
- The language is scientific and the terminology is appropriate to the subject.
- It is longer than a few pages.
- It is usually written in English.
Characteristics of a scientific journal
- The title often includes words like 'International', 'Journal', 'Transactions', ' Proceedings ' or 'Quarterly'.
- It has a serious appearance and rarely contains advertising.
- It often has consecutive page numbering where issue 2 of a volume may start on page 123 if issue 1 ended on page 122.
- There is an author's guide that specifies how the articles and references should be formatted.
- The target audience is academic.
- It is published by an academic publisher or university.
Check the journal's website for information on its target audience, purpose and possible review. Information on scientific review is usually available under headings such as 'About the journal' or 'For authors'. Keep in mind that not all content in a scientific journal is peer-reviewed. It also includes, for example, editorials, book reviews and news from the world of science.
In databases, you can often limit your search to scientific journals by selecting peer reviewed or peer reviewed journals. Even if you do this, you will have to review the article yourself to make sure it is indeed a scientific article.
Structure of a scientific article
A summary of the IMRaD model: introduction, method, results, summary and discussion.
A scientific article usually follows the specific IMRaD template:
I = Introduction
M = Method and materials
R = Results
a = and abstract/summary at the beginning. Acknowledgements and references at the end.
D = Discussion
Scientific articles start with an abstract, which is a summary. It describes
briefly the aim, method, results and conclusions of the article. It also includes subject or
keywords that identify the content of the article.
The introduction describes the background of the article and presents the purpose and questions. This
also presents the delimitations that have been made.
Method and materials
The methodology section describes the methods and materials used. It should be a very
accurate and detailed description so that it is possible for other researchers to repeat
the experiments and assess the reliability and credibility of the article.
The research results are reported here. To present the results clearly, tables and graphs
can be included.
Discussion and conclusions
The presented results are evaluated and compared with results from similar and previous
research. The methodology is also discussed here.
All documents and previous research referred to in the article are presented in a reference list.