Lesson 4: Anatomy of a Peer-reviewed Journal Article


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The lesson discusses the things to observe when judging a scholarly article. Most scholarly articles follow a format that is recognizable within the academic community. This is the fourth lesson of the Eastern University open access course at http://eudigitalbadges.org.

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Lesson 4: Anatomy of a Peer-reviewed Journal Article

  1. 1. Information Literacy for the Health Science Student Lesson 4: Anatomy of a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article
  2. 2. A Closer Look Generally speaking scholarly articles follow a logical in presentation. The author clearly states the author’s credentials and affiliations. The abstract relates the purpose and briefly discusses the content of the article. The introduction states the progression of the article.
  3. 3. Beginning and Ending of a Scholarly Article The conclusion or the results recaps and finalizes the author’s argument based upon the evidence presented in the paper.
  4. 4. The Body Citations throughout the article demonstrate that the author’s opinion is backed by documented research. The outline of the article follows a logical progression Headings clearly mark out by section headings prior to the discussion.
  5. 5. Tables and Charts Tables and charts clearly display important information in a brief digestible form.
  6. 6. Research Evidence References listed at the end of the paper present the works used to build the author’s argument and conclusion.
  7. 7. Style Differences Be aware that journals use different style formats based on the publishing needs. Here the abstract is arranged in a box apart from the . The author’s credentials and affiliations are at the end of the paper. While the aesthetic presentation may differ, the body of the article will follow a familiar outline and progression of presentation.
  8. 8. Publication Type We mentioned in Lesson 1 that your research might need a specific type of scholarly literature. Listed here are examples of a few • Case Reports are descriptive studies of a group of people, usually receiving the same treatment or with the same malady. • Clinical Practice Guidelines are systematically developed statements that help practitioners and patients in making decisions about health care under specific clinical conditions. • Evidence-based Practice articles reflect the conscientious explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. • Technical Reports are documents that describe the process, progress, and or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem or something else.
  9. 9. Database Limiters Database limiters or filters are tools that help will help you focus a search on a particular type of scholarly information. The PubMed filter, presented here, limits search results to clinical trials.
  10. 10. Specialized Databases Some databases are designed to look for a specific type of scholarly literature. Annual Reviews is a collection of reviews of the literature for various disciplines. PubMed Health focuses on literature in evidence-based practice and clinical effectiveness.
  11. 11. Look at the Titles Often the title of an article will declare the type of information in an article. This article is a technical report. This article presents a clinical practice guideline. This article is a case study.
  12. 12. Look at the Table of Contents Many journals organize articles by type. Check the table of contents to see what is available. As an example the Journal of the Medical Library Association lists a section for case studies. Anesthesiology Research and Practice lists a section for clinical studies.
  13. 13. Next we will look at books. Do the student activity for this lesson. After that proceed to the next lesson. Revised Wednesday, February 11, 15.
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