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This short Library video will show you how to read an academic article for a research-based assignment
When selecting articles consider the following:
What information do I need for my assignment?
Does this article relate to my research topic?
Article formats can vary by discipline but here are some general tips to keep in mind. Before you read an article, ask yourself:
What is this article’s purpose?
Who is its intended audience?
Skimming refers to reading only the main ideas to get an overall impression of an article. We do this to save time and determine what to read more thoroughly later.
Scanning is a reading technique used to find specific information quickly. While scanning we read only to find the answer to a question, ignoring unrelated information.
With journal articles use structure to quickly locate relevant information:
1. Read the Title, though note that titles can be misleading
2. Read the abstract [define]
3. figures & illustrations, discussion section conclusion which tell us many things before we read an article in its entirety
Some articles are exceedingly dense and are written for a highly specialized audience — be prepared to rule out difficult articles or to invest a lot of time in understanding the concepts in the articles.
Print off the article and jot down brief notes in order to record what you’re noticing and thinking about the article as you read. This will help save time later when you can use your notes to quickly find important points in the article without rereading it. Consider noting the following:
– The author’s underlying assumptions, beliefs and values
– Arguments and conclusions
– The evidence that’s presented to support the arguments
You may need a dictionary, encyclopaedia, or other reference sources to assist with important terms and comprehension
A useful journal article can lead to other relevant sources. If your article has one, observe the literature review or recommendations for further reading. You should also consult the list of references or end notes at the end of the article to locate related material.
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This concludes the library video on how to read an academic article.