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Academic Writing: Understanding the Purpose of Research Articles

Academic writing can often feel like a daunting task, with its formal language and dense research articles. But fear not! In this blog post, we will demystify the purpose of research articles and show you how they are essential tools for advancing knowledge in your field.


In the world of academia, research articles are considered to be the backbone of academic writing. They form an integral part of scholarly communication and play a crucial role in advancing knowledge and understanding in various fields of study. A research article is a written piece that reports on original research or findings, experiments, concepts, theories, or methodologies in a specific area of study. It undergoes a rigorous process of peer review before being published in reputable academic journals.

Research articles serve multiple purposes and have several important functions within the realm of academic writing. Firstly, they contribute to the body of knowledge by presenting new findings or perspectives on a particular topic. This helps to build upon existing research and add to the collective understanding within a field.

Moreover, research articles also provide evidence-based support for arguments made by scholars and researchers. By citing relevant studies and data from research articles, writers can strengthen their claims and lend credibility to their work. This not only adds depth and validity to academic writing but also encourages critical thinking among readers.

Definition of Research Articles:

A research article can be defined as a document that presents original research on a particular topic or problem. It is usually written by researchers, scholars, or scientists who have conducted extensive studies or experiments on a subject matter. Research articles undergo rigorous peer-review processes before they are published in reputable academic journals.

Understanding the Purpose of Research Articles:

The main purpose of research articles is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in a particular area by presenting new findings or perspectives. They aim to advance understanding and stimulate further research within the academic community. By sharing their work through research articles, researchers not only gain recognition but also contribute to the progress and development of their respective fields.

Another important purpose of research articles is to provide evidence-based information for decision-making processes. The findings presented in these articles can help policymakers and practitioners make informed decisions that can drive positive change in society.

Format of Research Articles:

Research articles typically follow a standard format with sections such as abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results and findings, discussion and analysis, conclusion and implications, and references and bibliography. Each section serves a unique purpose in conveying information effectively to readers.

The abstract gives an overview of the entire article, including its key points and conclusions. The introduction provides background information on the topic under study and explains why it is significant. The literature review summarizes existing knowledge on the topic while identifying gaps that need further exploration.

The methodology section outlines how the study was conducted, including details about participants and sample size, data collection methods and tools used, and data analysis techniques. The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and organized manner, often using tables, charts, and graphs.

The discussion/analysis section interprets the results in relation to the research question and objectives. It also discusses implications, limitations, and future directions for research. The conclusion summarizes the main points of the article while highlighting its significance.

Research articles are an important medium for communicating new knowledge and ideas within the academic community. They serve to advance understanding, inform decision-making processes, and contribute to societal progress. Understanding their purpose and format is crucial for both readers and writers of these valuable pieces of literature.

Key Components of a Research Article:

A research article is a vital form of academic writing that serves to present the findings and outcomes of an in-depth study or investigation. It is typically written by scholars, researchers, and scientists from various fields of study and is published in academic journals to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in their respective disciplines. However, understanding the structure and purpose of a research article can be daunting for those new to academic writing. In this section, we will discuss the key components of a research article: the abstract, introduction, methodology, results, and discussion/conclusion.

1) Abstract:
The abstract is a concise summary of the entire research article. It provides readers with an overview of the study’s objectives, methods used, major findings, and conclusions. The typical length of an abstract is anywhere between 100 and 300 words, depending on the journal’s guidelines. A well-written abstract should be able to stand alone, as it may be read independently by readers who are interested in only specific aspects of the study.

2) Introduction:
The introduction sets the tone for your research article by providing background information on the topic and outlining its significance in relation to previous studies. This section should also clearly state your research question or hypothesis that you aim to answer through your study. Furthermore, it should provide a brief overview of your methodology and highlight any key terms or concepts that will be used throughout your paper.

3) Methodology:
The methodology section outlines how you conducted your study. It includes details such as sample size, data collection techniques (interviews, questionnaires, and observations), data analysis methods (qualitative and quantitative), and any limitations or ethical considerations that may have impacted your study’s results.

4) Results:
The results section presents all relevant findings obtained from analyzing the collected data using statistical tools or qualitative analysis techniques. This section often includes tables, graphs, or figures to help visualize complex data sets better. The results should be presented objectively, without interpretation or bias.

5) Discussion/Conclusion:
The discussion section is where you interpret and analyze your results in light of your research question or hypothesis. This section allows you to compare your findings with previous studies and explain any discrepancies. Additionally, it should include the significance of your study’s results and how they contribute to the existing body of knowledge. The conclusion summarizes the key points discussed in the article and provides a final statement on whether your research question or hypothesis has been supported or not.

Importance of Proper Citation and Referencing in Research Articles

Proper citation and referencing are essential components of academic writing, especially in research articles. This section will discuss the importance of these elements and how they contribute to the overall quality and credibility of a research article.

Firstly, proper citation and referencing give credit where credit is due. In other words, it acknowledges the work of others that has been used as evidence or support for the arguments presented in the article. Without proper citation, it can be considered plagiarism, which is a serious offense in the academic world. Plagiarism not only undermines the integrity of the writer but also devalues their work.

Moreover, accurate citation and referencing allow readers to easily locate and access the sources used by the author. This helps to build upon existing knowledge and encourages further research on the topic at hand. Additionally, it allows readers to verify and evaluate the credibility of the information provided by examining its original source.

Proper citation and referencing enhance transparency in research articles. By citing sources accurately, authors demonstrate their commitment to transparency by providing evidence for their claims rather than relying solely on personal opinions or beliefs. This adds validity to their arguments and strengthens their stance in the eyes of readers.

In addition to enhancing transparency, proper citation and referencing also contribute significantly to maintaining consistency within a field of study. Citations create connections between different studies on a similar topic by acknowledging previous findings while building upon them with new insights or perspectives. This creates a cohesive body of literature that allows researchers to understand a subject more comprehensively.

Proper citation and referencing are vital aspects of academic writing, specifically in research articles. It not only gives credit to the original authors but also contributes to the overall credibility and transparency of the article. By acknowledging previous research and maintaining consistency within a field, writers can create a reliable body of knowledge that advances their area of study. Therefore, it is crucial for researchers to understand the importance of citation and referencing and use them accurately in their writing.


Research articles are a significant medium for sharing new insights and expanding knowledge in various disciplines. Proper citation and referencing play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity, credibility, and transparency of these articles. By acknowledging the work of others and building upon it with new findings, writers contribute to the advancement of their field of study. Therefore, it is essential for researchers to understand the importance of proper citation and referencing and use them accurately in their writing.

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