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Anatomy of a Scientific Paper

Scientific articles can be either research or review articles. In the case of research articles, they document and describe a particular study or experiment. They usually follow the same structure: 

  • Title (usually quite specific or scientific sounding), 
  • Abstract (brief summary of the study, including results and conclusions)
  • Introduction - purpose of the study, summary of related research
  • Methodology - how was the study/experiment run, what or who was studied
  • Findings/results - factual and unbiased report
  • Discussion/conclusions - analysis of the data, what is significant about the results, future research needed
  • Bibliography of literature cited or consulted so you can follow up on any of that research if you are interested


From How to Read a Scientific Paper by Michael Forsmire. CC-BY-NC-SA



Importance of Scientific Articles

Scientific articles should be included in your research for the following reasons:

  • Written by scholars or experts in their field who have studied their topics extensively.
  • Most often they go through a peer-review process which means they are reviewed by several experts in the field who verify the quality and accuracy of the content. 
  • Tell you how they did the experiment so you could replicate the experiment or build upon it
  • Theories are backed up by evidence - scientists back up what they say with previous research
  • Provide a reference list of the scientific articles or other sources they consult so you can follow up on any of that research if it relates to your topic
  • They are citable - the content is stable. Because scientific articles are published in journals, they won’t just disappear like a lot of information on the internet.

Book, Chapter or Article?

It is important to recognize different types of citations in order to locate the items. Here are some basic examples with tips on locating the related items.


Samuels, V. (2018). Foundation in kinesiology and biomechanics. FA Davis Company.

Tip: Citations for books include the name of the publisher. 

To locate: Search Omni for the title of the book and/or the author's name. 

Book Chapter

Mosconi, M., Rossi, S. M. P., & Benazzo, F. (2011). Prevention of sports injuries in adolescents. In Sports injuries (pp. 995-998). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 

Tip: Citations for book chapters contain the author and title of the chapter and then the author/editor and title of the book. 

To locate: Search Omni for the title of the book, not the title of the chapter. 

Journal Article:

Patel, S. A., Vaccaro, A. R., & Rihn, J. A. (2013). Epidemiology of spinal injuries in sports. Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine, 21, 146-151. 

Tip: There is no publisher or place in a journal article citation. It does contain the specific volume/issue numbers and the page numbers.

To locate: 

1) Search Omni for the journal title, then on the journal site, navigate to the year, volume and issue where the article is located.

2) Search Omni for the article title enclosed in parentheses.