The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the scholarly world.
While there is some variation, scholarly articles reporting the results of original research share a similar structure and are often divided into sections, each discussing a particular aspect of the research.
Check out North Caroline State University Libraries' Anatomy of a Scholarly Article to see the layout of a typical empirical research paper. Click on each colored part to better understand the sections of a scholarly article.
Abstract - briefly describes study/experiment/research and its main findings to help reader decide whether the study might be relevant
Introduction - describes topic and what the author hopes to learn by conducting the study
Literature review - prior research done and accepted understanding in this field
Methodology - who the study's participants/subjects are; how the study was conducted; and what information was collected
Results - specific and detailed findings from the study; tables and figures for easy viewing of data; statistical analysis
Discussion/Analysis - explains what the study's results mean and how they support the author's conclusions
Conclusion - study's implications; how it fits into the existing body of knowledge; ideas for future research
References - list of sources that author consulted or used for this study; an excellent place to find other useful articles for your own paper!