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What is an Academic Journal or Research Paper?

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From quantitative to qualitative, or from science and math to the social sciences, academic journals and research papers have come to be spaces for the presentation, discussion, critique, and scrutiny of both old and new scholarship, and valuable research. The academic journals and research papers we have access to are only published after strict vetting, to ensure that they meet standards that can be aspired towards by scholars and individuals in academia.

What is an Academic Journal or a Research Paper?

The terms "academic journal" and "scholarly journal" can be use synonymously. Published academic or scholarly journals contain research papers that have been written by experts or scholars from the field of study that the article is based in or about, making them distinct from your regular essays.

Thus, academic journals provide quality and reliable research papers. The papers and articles that are included in academic journals would usually have been peer-reviewed as well. This refers to the articles having been vetted and reviewed by other experts, and made sure to have met standards for publication. If not, they are revised. This peer-review process makes sure that all the articles that are published are of the best quality possible.

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Academic journals and the papers in it are intended to be read or referred to by other experts and individuals pursuing a specific field of study, given that they are usually more technically nuanced and advanced compared to articles you find elsewhere like in magazines or on websites. The quality also makes articles from academic journals apt to be used as secondary research and supporting evidence in student essays or assignments.

The Purpose of Academic Journals or Research Papers

Academic journals are produced to consolidate, communicate, and explain the results gathered from recent research conducted in the field of study that the journal is based on and about. They forward and accelerate the dissemination of legitimate knowledge through the publication of high quality research papers and articles.

The scholarly articles that are found in journals present systematic and thorough findings from studies on a single topic. Apart from research papers, academic journals can also include review articles that offer a robust summary of the current findings and knowledge on a topic.

Elements of Research Papers

Upon first glance, the name or title of the journal would be clear, and academic and professional in nature. The journal would also be published through a professional organization or university press. Papers that are published in these academic journals include the following :


Papers from scholarly journals are to include abstracts; a summary of what the paper will be addressing and discussing. This short summary should cover the more important points of the paper, without the need to include background information. It could also briefly describe the results of the studies conducted for the paper's research, and a 2 to 3 lines on the importance of the results collected.

Author's Credentials

Articles in academic journals are put together by experts and researchers from the article's field of study. In this section, these authors' names would be found with academic credentials attached, such as Ph.D, M.D., etc, and their affiliations to particular or esteemed institutions.

Technical or Academic Language

Articles are written by professionals in the field of study, for other professionals and for individuals in academia. Technical jargon and academic language is the norm, and it is used with the expectation that it would be familiar to readers.

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Unlike abstracts, the introductory sections in scholarly articles includes background information. This section would also introduce the paper's research question, and what and how the article would contributes to existing knowledge within the field accordingly. The introduction should successfully introduce and explicate the purpose, problems and limits of the topic of study.


Academic articles would require to systematically cite or state their sources of information. These resources can be presented in multiple ways; as references at the end of the paper, as endnotes or footnotes, or bibliography.

Methods and Results - Charts, Graphs, Statistics

In this section of an academic or research article, the results of the studies conducted and the means through which they were arrived at are accounted for. Charts, tables, graphs, diagrams, and other kinds of statistics are to be presented here if necessary. This section any descriptions and explanations should be as nuanced and thorough as possible, to ensure reliability and credibility.

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DOI Number

A DOI number, or Digital Object Identifier number, is a very specific string or combination of numbers and letters that are used as identifiers for academic articles. This number is used to identify academic journal articles and research reports and link them on the web.

Literature Review

Academic papers can also include literature reviews, or a survey and summary of the current state of knowledge and scholarly sources on the very topic that the article is addressing. Literature reviews need to successfully allow readers to identify the topic's relevant theories, other methodologies that have been employed in other studies, and gaps that have not been addressed in existing research.

Academic or scholarly journals are out together with the primary purpose of distribute legitimate knowledge on the latest studies, research, and breakthroughs. They provide, and validate, specific and in-depth knowledge about multiple areas of study and interest for students and experts.

With such publications, newer and more current knowledge and information will continue to be discovered and consumed everywhere.