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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing - NURS 122

This guide will help you complete the understanding scholarly research studies assignment for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing.

Anatomy of a Peer-Reviewed Research Article

You will be working on an assignment that requires you to understand how scholarly articles are organized, written, and presented. The assignment is worth 5 points. The information on this website will help you to understand what you need to know in order to successfully complete this assignment. 

Peer-reviewed, scholarly research follows a prescribed format. You will almost always see the following sections in any research article. 


An abstract is a summary or overview of the article. It will share a brief description of the purpose of the study, the methods used, the results, and the discussion. Think of it as an executive summary. Spoilers are welcome in article abstracts!


The introduction comprehensively explains the purpose of the research including the specific research question the researchers are looking to answer as well as their hypothesis. The introduction may also include a literature review sharing what other research is out there related to this research question. Sometimes, the literature review can be its own separate section. Finally, the researchers will include open questions and a final summary of their research question.

Methods / Methodology

The methods section of a research article might be one of the most important sections because it allows the reader to understand how exactly the research was done in order to replicate the experiment and it also helps the reader to evaluate the quality of the research. The methods section will:

  • explain the type of research used
  • who (or what) were the subjects of the study
  • what perceived risk and/or participation consent was needed
  • the size of the population
  • the instrument(s) used in the research study to test the hypothesis
  • variables in the testing and how they are measured

The methods section doesn't usually cite other research except for existing methods the researchers are using.


The results section usually contains the data collected during the research study. There will usually be charts, graphs, tables, or figures to visually display the results. These visual elements help the researchers emphasize or deemphasize certain findings. There will often be statistical elements in the results section. 


Although it is the last section of the paper, you might want to read the discussion before reading the methods and the results! The discussion section is where all of the results are interpreted and explained and further, evaluated against the existing literature which was cited in the introduction. The authors will explain how the results of their study might be applied as well as highlight gaps in the research and opportunities for further research. Sometimes the conclusion is included in the discussion or it could be a separate section.


The authors will provide an extensive list of references at the conclusion of their research. The sources listed will all be cited throughout the body of the research article either in the introduction and literature review, or in the methods section when using existing methods. The references are often a great place to find more information on a specific topic and may contain potential sources for other research.