Most peer-reviewed articles in the sciences and social sciences follow the following structure:
- Abstract: a brief summary of what they did and what they found
- Introduction: an overview of the topic, including related studies that have been conducted
- Methods: an explanation of how the study was conducted so that others could reproduce it
- Results: a presentation of the data from their study
- Discussion & Conclusion: a discussion of the significance of the results and the limitations of the study
- References: the sources that they used when writing the paper
- Appendix: additional information that is useful but not needed in the main body of the article
Peer-reviewed journals may also contain what are known as Review Articles. These do not present original research but instead provide a scholarly overview of previously published studies. They have an abstract and references, but other section titles will be different.
The following are examples of these types of peer-reviewed articles:
Freedman, D. A., Flocke, S., Shon, E.-J., Matlack, K., Trapl, E., Ohri-Vachaspati, P., Osborne, A., & Borawski, E. (2017). Farmers’ Market Use Patterns Among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients With High Access to Farmers’ Markets. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 49(5), 397–404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2017.01.007
Schifferstein, H. N. (2020). Changing food behaviors in a desirable direction. Current Opinion in Food Science, 33, 30-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cofs.2019.11.002
Note that journals often contain items such as letters to the editors and book reviews. These items do not undergo peer review, but are usually easy to spot.