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Guide to Science Information Resources

What is a scholarly article?

Example of Scholarly Article

An example of a scholarly article.  Lee, N.K., & Rawson, R.A. (2009).  A systematic review of cognitive and behavioural therapies for methamphetamine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27 (3): 309-317.  Image permission by CC-BY 2.0. 

A scholarly article, also known as a research or original article, is one of the main ways new knowledge and discoveries are communicated to a scientific or academic community.  It is a full-length document on original research.  A scholarly article generally consists of the background of a research topic, its study design and methodology, the results of the study, and then its conclusion.  The scholarly articles or publications used to inform the research are listed at the end of the article as its references or works cited.

Another main objective of a scholarly article is to give readers enough information about a study to reproduce it.  Redoing a study may confirm its initial findings or reveal its possible shortcomings.  When a study is repeated with consistent results, it possesses validity or is highly likely to have a truthful result.  The new findings then can be added to its subject's body of knowledge.  When a repeated study has different results than its initial study, it may signify that a gap still remains in that area of knowledge or that subsequent studies may be needed.

General Structure of Scholarly Articles

For the convenience of readers, scholarly articles written within many STEM or medical/ health science fields have evolved to follow an IMRAD format or a similar structure.

Publications that are used to inform the study are provided in the references or works cited at the end of the article.



  • Background, rationale, and purpose of article.

Methods / Methodology

  • Study design, measurement instruments, and rationale for their use.


  • Describes the outcomes of the study without repeating the methodology.



  • Some publications shown an analysis of the data and results the results of the methods used.


  • Presents the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the study;
  • Explains how results support (or refute) previous research;
  • Considers theoretical implications of the results;
  • Provides conclusions of the study.

Example of a Scholarly Article

See this example of a scholarly article that follows an IMRAD format; notice the article's headings and also the references cited at the end of the article.

Zhuang, L., Sun, Y., Hu, M., Wu, C., La, X., Chen, S., Feng, Y., Wang, X., Hu, Y., & Xue, L. (2016).  Or47b plays a role in Drosophila males' preference for younger mates.  Open Biology, 6(6).  DOI:  10.1098/rsob.160086

Example of article with IMRaD format


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Last updated on May 13, 2022 9:37 AM