This paper briefly outlines the purposes of the key components of research articles, namely, a theoretical/conceptual framework, a literature review, research questions and/or hypotheses, assumptions, limitations, delimitations, and implications of a study. After that, the literature review of a scholarly article is assessed. Finally, the importance of the process of peer-reviewing for academic and professional purposes is discussed.
Purposes of the Main Components of a Research Article
A theoretical/conceptual framework in a research article provides the theoretical rationale for formulating the research questions and creating the hypotheses of the study. It also defines the choice of the methods using which the analysis of the data will be performed, the relationships between the variables will be established, and the conclusions will be drawn.
A literature review in a research article allows for providing the background and context of the study, summarizing the currently present knowledge and exposing the gaps and/or shortcomings in it (thus justifying the need for the research), as well as determining how the current study fits into the existing body of knowledge in the field (Forthofer, Lee, & Hernandez, 2007).
Research Questions and/or Hypotheses
A research question is an initial step in conducting a study. It determines the issue that a study is investigating, thus influencing the choice of hypotheses, research methods, and so on; research is aimed at answering research questions. A research hypothesis, on the other hand, is an answer to a research question that a scholar expects to obtain. It is formulated prior to the study, and it also influences the methods of a study. The research may prove or disprove the initial research hypotheses (Farrugia, Petrisor, Farrokhyar, & Bhandari, 2010).
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
Assumptions are the statements that the researcher accepts as true for the purposes of their study. They are often necessary for drawing conclusions (for instance, the assumption of honesty of respondents), simultaneously influencing what kind of conclusions can be drawn (Forthofer et al., 2007).
Limitations of a study are its possible weaknesses that are beyond the control of the researcher; these include limited resources, constraints of the selected research design, etc. They help articulate a number of important restrictions that the study has and influence which type of conclusions can be drawn from the study.
Delimitations are the boundaries of a study; they determine the exact area that the study is researching so that the topic does not become too broad and thus impossible to address thoroughly. They help readers of articles determine to which area the results of the study can be applied.
Implications of the Research
Implications allow for “making sense” of the obtained results, showing how they can be useful, what difference they make, and what practical implications they have. Implications may also provide directions for further studies.
Assessing a Component of an Article
The literature review provided by Sutherland and Cheng (2009) is rather effective. It briefly outlines the currently existing body of knowledge on the topic and provides some succinct information about the issues that are studied in the article (including the racial and gender aspects of the lives of Canadian female immigrants, their situation in small cities, and the situation of international students in Canada). Some gaps in the existing knowledge are also shown.
The Importance of Peer Review Process for Academic and Professional Goals
Peer review allows for ensuring the methodological correctness and factual adequacy of the materials submitted to scientific journals. It permits for making sure that there are no methodological mistakes in the research, and that no false conclusions are drawn from a methodologically correct study (“Peer Reviewed Journals,” n.d.). Thus, peer-reviewing is important for academic goals because it helps avoid errors in studies, and is important for professional goals because the mistakes that might be made without peer-reviewing may have an adverse impact on one’s career (e.g., when a study with errors is published and then publicly criticized, adversely affecting the reputation of the authors).
Farrugia, P., Petrisor, B. A., Farrokhyar, F., & Bhandari, M. (2010). Research questions, hypotheses and objectives. Canadian Journal of Surgery, 53(4), 278-281. Web.
Forthofer, R. N., Lee, E. S., & Hernandez, M. (2007). Biostatistics: A guide to design, analysis, and discovery (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Peer reviewed journals: The creation of new knowledge. (n.d.). Web.
Sutherland, C., & Cheng, Y. (2009). Participatory-action research with (im)migrant women in two small Canadian cities: Using Photovoice in Kingston and Peterborough, Ontario. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 7(3), 290-307.