Tips for Reading a Scholarly Article
Don't begin by reading an entire scholarly article from start to finish. To save research time and increase your comprehension of any scholarly article you are reading, follow the tips below:
- Make sure you have a clear topic statement or research question in mind. Though your topic statement or research question may continue to develop as you research and review your resources, you will want to have a clear idea of your research focus before you begin.
- Start by reading the abstract which will give you a general summary of the article. If the abstract seems relevant, then take a closer look at the introduction section of the article to gain a better understanding of the article's main points. If the article does not seem relevant or address your topic statement or research question, then disregard it and go on to the next article in your search results.
- Take notes or highlight main the points while reading the article. Also jot down any keywords you come across that you may want to use in future searches. Make sure you keep your topic statement or research question in mind while taking notes or highlighting sections of the article.
- Skim through the other sections of the article that may include a Conclusion, Results, and Methods section and look for other main points that address your topic statement or research question. Don't overlook any charts or graphs that will give you a quick visual overview of the study's results.
- Read the references listed at the end of the article which may lead you to other useful resources that address your topic statement or research question. You might also get a better understanding of the major experts and studies in the area you are researching.
Adapted from the video script, How to Read a Scholary Journal Article, by Tim Lockman, Reference Librarian, Kishwaukee College Library.