With some variation among the different disciplines, most scholarly articles of original research follow the IMRaD model, which consists of the following components:
Method & Results*
This form is most obvious in scientific studies, where the methods are clearly defined and described, and data is often presented in tables or graphs for analysis. Many scholarly articles will also include an Abstract, a Conclusion, and a Bibliography.
*In other fields, such as history, the method and results may be embedded in a narrative, perhaps describing and interpreting events from archival sources. In this case, the method is the selection of archival sources and how they were interpreted, while the results are the interpretation and resultant story. Similarly, in other humanities fields, like English, a scholarly work will not include an explicit methods or results section, but a portion of the text will ground the author's perspective in related theory (methods) and the subsequent portion will consist of an extensive analysis in support of the author's argument consisting of close readings of primary texts supported by the incorporation of secondary sources (results). Such analyses in the humanities are typically broken into sub-sections that are organized topically.
In full-length books, you might see this general pattern followed over the entire book, within each chapter, or both.
Click on the image below to investigate the different components typical to an academic article in the social sciences and sciences.
When first encountering scholarly material, consider reading the following sections of the work in the order listed below to efficiently grasp the content of the work and evaluate how the material relates to your research needs: