Structure of scientific articles

by Brylan Paul on

Use our template for scientific articles already standardized with APA standards:

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Now that we know what it is, we go to the way it is, below we list which basic structure the scientific articles generally obey, but that there can be small variations:


The title of the paper should be as clear as possible and should allow identifying the content of the work or the type of information that the author (s) intends to discuss.

Identification of the Author (s)

The title is followed by the full name of the authors, their professional qualification, the institutional link or the mention of the institution in which the work was performed. The email of the main author completes the identification of the authors of the work.


The part that precedes the “body” of the work, consists of a summary of it. The abstract should contain the main data and conclusions of the paper. Most publications limit the abstract to a maximum of 250 words. Its purpose is to allow readers to know the content of the work without having to resort to its full reading.

The abstract also serves to classify the work and make its content available through the various publications and indexing mechanisms. To promote the broader dissemination of the content of the work, many publications request that the abstract be also presented in English.


The first part of the work itself is the introduction. This should be clear and succinct and should describe the objectives of the work. It serves to introduce the reader to the research theme, the problem studied, the main concepts involved and the work already done so far. It can indicate the reasons that led the author to write the work and can describe some of the information already on the subject.

Basic structure:

  • Background to the problem.
  • Problem description.
  • Work already done.
  • Applicability and originality of the research.
  • Objective (research problem).

Common Errors:

  • Guidance more empirical than theoretical.
  • Very long introduction, including snippets that could be best used in the discussion.
  • Excessive details in the description of previous studies.
  • “Reinventing the wheel”, especially in the first sentence or paragraph.
  • Omission of directly relevant studies.
  • Confusing terminology.
  • Incorrect quotes.

Material and methods

In this part of the paper, which follows the introduction, the authors describe the type and quantity of the observations made, as well as the methods used for their collection, recording and evaluation.

Through a thorough description of the methods used, the author informs the readers of the details of obtaining the data on which the work is based. The details should be restricted to what is relevant to the job.

Basic structure:

  • Place and experimental conditions.
  • Design and treatments.
  • Control of experimental conditions.
  • Variables (evaluations).
  • Statistical analysis.

Common Errors:

  • Inadequate information for evaluation or replication.
  • Detailed descriptions of standardized and published methods.
  • Stop explaining unusual statistical analyzes.
  • Very heterogeneous participants.
  • Measures not validated; of weak or unknown reliability.


The results are reported in an organized and systematized manner. When a group of cases or observations are studied, the percentages of the occurrence of each observation are also reported. The significance and significance of certain results can be better assessed by statistical analysis.

Basic structure:

  • Results of the statistical analysis.
  • Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviation and correlations)
  • Inferential Statistics
  • Report the significance and breadth of the data.
  • Additional analyzes (usually post hoc).

Common Errors:

  • Tables and figures complex, incomprehensible.
  • Repetition of data in text, tables and figures.
  • Do not use the same writing style as the introduction and the material and methods.
  • Do not present the data promised in the material section and methods.
  • Inappropriate or inappropriate statistical analysis.


In this segment of the work the observations of other authors referring to the theme of the work can be described for comparison. The results are discussed in detail and their meaning is pointed out. The discussion may be more or less broad, depending on the subject studied.

Basic structure:

  • Relate the results to the hypotheses.
  • Interpretations: expected versus alternatives.
  • Theoretical implications for research and practice.
  • Limitations of the study: approximation with the ideal study.
  • Estimated confidence of conclusions.
  • Explanation of possible restrictions on the conclusions.
  • Identification of methodological procedures relevant to results.
  • Recommendations for future research.

Common Errors:

  • Repeat the intro.
  • Repetition of results.
  • Discussion not based on the purpose of the study.
  • Do not clarify the theoretical and practical implications of the results.
  • Discussion not based on results.
  • Hypotheses not explicitly discussed.
  • Presentation of new data.
  • Repetition of the literature review.
  • Unsubstantiated speculation.
  • Recommendations not based on results.


The analysis of the results found and their meaning in the context in which they were studied lead to the conclusions of the study. This section should be fairly clear and concise. When the results are not entirely conclusive, this should be pointed out.

Bibliographic references

The last part of the work is the collection of bibliographical references effectively consulted for the preparation and elaboration of the work. This can be presented in the order of citation in the text or in the alphabetical order of the names of the first author of each reference. The APA standard should be adopted for citations and references. To know more about the topic, check out our APA Rules article for projects and articles.

Tools and sites for finding scientific articles

When it comes to finding something, nothing better than Google, luckily they have also made a tool geared towards research and science, Google Scholar or Google Scholar which is a good starting point to research on a topic or scientific articles of an area.

It is very important that you better understand the importance of Google Scholar for your academic life. For a more complete list of tools and websites you can check the list of 100 indispensable scientific and academic research sites

Written by: Brylan Paul