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CRM 310 Research Methods for Criminology: Reading in Criminology/Sociology

How to Read a Research Article

Research articles published in Criminology journals are arranged using the following sections:

Title - Usually can provide an overview of the paper’s contents. Take note of the words and phrases used. This information will may provide keywords for future searches.

Keywords and phrases – If included are listed on the front page of the article. The information provides important information about the study such as the subject population and outcome measures.

Abstract -  The summary of the article and provides information about the research problem being investigated, the methods used, and the results obtained. The abstract also provides what this study brings to the current scholarship.

Introduction – Overview of the research problem and purpose of the research, the hypotheses (both explicit and implicit is clearly defined.

Literature Review – Usually in its own section, but in some instances it may be included within the introduction. The literature review is an exanimation of what other researchers have already published.

Method – This section includes the research design. The who, what and where and how the data was collected. The experiments/surveys are described in this section.

Results – The analysis of the researcher’s findings. A qualitative (using statistics) study will include statistical tables, and analyses that explains if the hypothesis in support or not. A quantitate (non-numerical) study will be displayed as a theoretical analysis or interpretation of research question.

Discussion/Summary/Conclusion – The hypothesis is restated and results are interpreted.  A discussion and implications of the research and what future research is still required.


Adapted from Conley, E. S. (2015) How to read a research article. In Waslh, A. & Hemmens, C. (Eds.). Introduction to criminology: A text/reader (pp. 19-20).

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