I have a lot of new readers, so let’s revisit the standard sections of a research article. They are:
- Introduction (or Background)
- Review of literature
- Results (or findings)
- Discussion & Implications
If we begin at the beginning, then we should ask: “What’s in an Introduction?” Here’s the answer:
“[a] …Background of the problem or issue being examined,
[b] …Existing literature on the subject, and
[c] …Research questions, objectives, and possibly hypothesis” (p. 6, Davies & Logan, 2012)
This is the very 1st section of the body of the research article. In it you will find a description of the problem that the researcher is studying, why the problem is a priority, and sometimes what is already known about the problem. The description of what is already known may or may not be labelled separately as a Review of Literature.
Key point #1: Articles & research that are reviewed in the Intro/Background should be mostly within the past 5-7 years. Sometimes included are classic works that may be much older OR sometimes no recent research exists. If recent articles aren’t used, this should raise some questions in your mind. You know well that healthcare changes all the time!! If there are no recent studies the author should explain.
Key point #2: The last sentence or two in the Intro/Background is the research question or hypothesis. If you need to know the research question/hypothesis right away, you can skip straight to the end of the Intro/background—and there it should be!
Happy research reading!
Critical Thinking: Do the sections of the abstract AND the sections of the research article match above headings? Does it match the description of Introduction? Take a look at the free article by Kennedy et al. (2014). Is there a relationship between personality and choice of nursing specialty: An integrative literature, BMC Nursing, 13(40). Retrieved from the link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4267136/.