journal article vs research article

As an academic researcher, publishing one’s work and contribute to the growing research, either by research articles or through journal articles, is essential for advancing one’s career and contributing to one’s field. Researchers invest considerable amount of time and labour to produce research articles and journal articles, while striving both intellectually and physically to contribute and add new knowledge and insights to their respective field. Although there is distinguishable difference between a research article and a journal article, these two terms are often used interchangeably. Therefore, understanding the difference between a “research article” and a “journal article” is crucial for both researchers and readers. More importantly, knowing the distinction between the two can help a researcher to choose the right format for their publication, target the appropriate audience, avoid confusion or rejection, and overall navigate the academic publishing landscape and ensure that readers can identify and access the content that aligns with their interests and needs. In this article/blog, we will explain the difference between a research article and a journal article and delve deeper into these disparities in order to grasp the disparities between them to navigate scholarly literature effectively.

What is a Research Article?

A vital component of scholarly literature that serves as a medium for researchers and academics to share the findings of their original research, a Research Article is meticulously crafted and composed to present comprehensive details about the research process, methodology, results, analysis, and conclusions. Research articles are mainly written by researchers and academics who want to share their discoveries and insights with their peers and other interested readers.  Overall, a research article is a type of scholarly document that reports the results of original research conducted by the authors. The purpose of a research article is to advance the knowledge and understanding of a specific topic or problem in a particular field.

What is a Journal Article?

On the other hand, a journal article refers to a piece of writing that appears in a scholarly journal. A scholarly journal is a periodical publication that provides a platform for researchers to publish their research articles and other types of content related to their field of study. Journals serve as platforms for publishing research articles, along with other types of content like review articles, editorials, and letters to the editor, acting as a source of information and communication for researchers, academics, students, practitioners, and policymakers who want to keep up with the latest developments and trends in their disciplines. Journals also play an important role in establishing the credibility and reputation of researchers and their institutions, as well as facilitating the dissemination and citation of their work among the academic community and wider readership.

Also Read: Scopus Indexed Journals

Research Article vs Journal Article

Scope and Purpose:

Research articles and journal articles are closely related terms, yet they hold distinct meanings within the realm of academic publishing, as they differ in structure, content, and purpose. The key distinction lies in their scope and purpose. A research article represents the primary output of a study, emphasizing the research process, methodology, and findings. It aims to present new insights, data, and conclusions derived from the research conducted by the authors. In contrast, a journal article encompasses a broader range of content published in scholarly journals, including research articles, reviews, commentaries, and other forms of academic discourse.


A research article usually follows a standard structure, consisting of sections such as an abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. The abstract provides a concise summary of the main points and findings of the article, and the introduction sets the context and background for the research question or hypothesis. While the methodology describes the design, procedures, and analysis of the research, the results present the data and findings of the research. The discussion interprets and evaluates the results in relation to the research question, existing literature, and implications, and at last, the conclusion summarizes the main findings and contributions of the research, as well as its limitations and suggestions for future work.

On the other hand, Journal articles can include different types of content, such as research articles, review articles, editorials, commentaries, letters to the editor, book reviews, and more. Each type of content has its own purpose, format, and audience. For example, research articles report original research findings; review articles synthesize and evaluate existing literature on a topic; editorials express opinions or perspectives on current issues or controversies; commentaries provide critical or analytical insights on specific articles or topics; letters to the editor respond to or comment on previously published articles; and book reviews assess the strengths and weaknesses of books relevant to the field.


Another important distinction lies in the evaluation process for research articles and journal articles. Research articles undergo a rigorous peer-review process to ensure the validity, quality, and contribution of the research to the field. Peer review involves subjecting the article to critical scrutiny by experts in the relevant field who evaluate the research methodology, analysis, results, and conclusions. This process ensures that only high-quality research with sound methodology and significant contributions gets published.

Alternatively, the evaluation process for journal articles, while also involving peer review, may encompass different criteria. Since journal articles encompass a broader range of content beyond original research findings, the evaluation may focus on factors such as the article’s relevance to the journal’s scope, its clarity, coherence, and its potential to contribute to the academic discourse within the field. This evaluation process ensures that the published journal articles maintain the standards and integrity of scholarly discourse.

Also Read: Difference Between Journal and Research Paper?

Is a Research Article the Same as a Journal Article?

As we have established above, Research articles are the specific subset of journal articles that present original research findings, emphasizing the research process and its outcomes. Journal articles, however, encompass a wider range of scholarly content published in academic journals. In short, a research article is a type of article that appears within a journal. While all research articles are journal articles, not all journal articles are research articles. The term “journal article” encompasses a broader category that includes various types of scholarly content beyond original research findings. Recognizing these distinctions helps researchers and reader both to distinguish them based on their scope, structure, purpose, and evaluation. Subscribe to our conference alerts form and get a notifications for  journal article vs research article related posts.

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