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Research Guides

CHM338: Intermediate Organic Chemistry

The resources in this guide will help you search for substances, property data, spectra and chemical literature to support you in your CHM338 labs.

Sections of a Scientific Article

Scientific articles typically contain the following sections:

Title

  • Gives a one-sentence description of what the article is about
  • Draws the attention of the reader
  • Helps other researchers find the article and decide if it is relevant

Abstract

One-paragraph summary of the article, 150-250 words max. Includes:
  1. Purpose & Problem: Why did they do the study?
  2. Methodology: How did they do the study?
  3. Findings: What did they find?
  4. Conclusion: What does it mean and why does it matter?

Introduction

  • Provides context and background information
  • Gives an overview of previous research in the field
  • Describes the goal and objectives of the study

Experimental / Methods

  • Describes what experimental techniques and equipment used
  • Can be very technical and difficult to understand
  • Some/all methods may be found in the Supporting Information

Results & Discussion

  • Results present and analyze the data collected in the study
  • Discussion explains what the findings mean and why they’re important
  • Sometimes both are combined into a single section

Conclusion

  • Summarizes key points from Results & Discussion
  • Describes the significance of the study results in the broader field
  • Discusses next steps and opportunities for future research

Supplemental/Supporting Information

  • Includes additional details that the authors considered “nice to know” rather than “need to know”
  • Often found in a separate document from the article
  • Look here for specific data, figures, tables or methodology not included in the Results or Experimental sections

Steps for Reading an Article

You do not have to read an entire article from beginning to end to find the information you are looking for. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Read Abstract to decide if the article is relevant
  2. Read the Results & Discussion for important data, outcome and implications of the study
  3. Read the Introduction to learn about the broader context
  4. Read the Experimental/Methods section to understand how it was done
  5. Optional! Skim the Supporting Information for more details
  6. Review Reference List to find more relevant articles, trace data back to its original source