Within this section, the learner will:
- review the four main parts of a journal article
- review the research article using the scientific method as scaffolding
1. The Scientific Paper
A McDonalds cook’s product could be a McMuffin. A carpenter’s product may be a house. What might the product of a scientist be? It is a scientific paper published in a scholarly journal. When scientists complete a research project that explain the project and report the results in a report that they submit for publication in a scholarly journal. Upon receipt of the scientific paper, the journal editor sends the paper to experts for evaluation, a process called “peer review.” Peer review involves a detailed analysis by those experts of the strengths and weaknesses of the research addressed in the paper. Peer reviewers may approve the paper as written, may reject the paper as written but offer to review a revision, or completely reject it. If reviewers and editor approve the paper for publication after peer review, this published paper (also called a journal article) adds to the accumulating data and concepts in that area of research.
Articles like this are considered “primary sources” of research and are made available to scientists all around the world. All other sources of scientific information like reviews, textbooks, web sites, and lectures are called “secondary or tertiary sources” and lack the rigorous evaluation by experts that is given to original research papers.