The formation of turbulent structures in weakly developed drift-wave turbulence is investigated using experimental data obtained in a linear laboratory device. The findings are compared with fully non-linear numerical simulation results. The formation of structures occurs in a region, in which the divergence of the Reynolds stress, which is one term in the momentum balance, has a maximum. The generation of a time-averaged shear layer is not observed, but for transient events the shearing rate can become sufficiently strong to decorrelate the fluctuations. This happens when the energy flow into the shear flow is largely positive.