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Structure of a scholarly article 

Scholarly articles have a formal appearance and often contain tables, graphs, and diagrams. They use discipline specific terms and technical language.


Scholarly articles begin with the article title. The title of a scholarly article is a very concise summary of what the article is about. It usually states the key finding or main thesis (argument) of the article. The title of this article is “High-quality housing - A key issue in delivering sustainable communities”. 

Author details

Below the title are the author details which include authors’ names and their affiliation (which is the university, department or company they are associated with). Affiliations may appear with the authors' names or as a footnote. The affiliation establishes the expertise of the author and provides a point of contact, such as an email address.  


Before the article text begins is the abstract. The abstract is a short summary of the article, usually under 250 words. It outlines the aim of the article, main ideas, research methods, findings and conclusions. It helps readers quickly decide whether the article is relevant to their own research.


The article text begins with an introduction which includes background information about the topic and explains the purpose of the article (the rationale). It summarises previous related research to provide context for the current study and identifies gaps in the research field that the article aims to address. (A summary of related research is called a literature review and may be its own section.)

Main body

The introduction is followed by the main body of the article. The body of a scholarly article is made up of sections defined by headings and often subheadings. Scholarly articles can have different headings depending on the type of article they are (e.g. review article, thesis, scientific report). For example, scientific reports include a methods, results and discussion section. The text is usually technical and assumes a familiarity with the topic. Scholarly articles may contain tables, graphs and diagrams related to the research.


The article will end with a conclusion that summarises the results of the research and their significance. It may discuss how the results relate to other research or encourage other researchers to extend on the findings.


The conclusion is followed by a list of references. Scholarly articles cite many publications by other authors. You will find citations throughout the text of the article or as footnotes at the bottom of the page. Most articles have a list of references at the end. Each reference corresponds to a citation in the paper. You can use the reference list to find more scholarly articles and books on the topic.