HOW TO RE A D A RESE A RCH P A PER
Start with title, abstract, and key words – make sure the paper is what you were looking for and is worth your time and effort. The abstract tells you what experiment was done and what was found.
Read the Introduction – This will give you the background for the question being asked and summarize the work done leading to this study. It also gives a background on the research area and references other studies.
Take it slow, make sure you understand what you are reading – be prepared to look up terms, either online or by asking someone in the field. Highlight what you think is important and make notes.
Read the Results focusing on the Figures and Tables. Make sure you understand the data being presented and read the text to help understand the Figures and Tables.
Don’t read it straight through - skim it first to see how the paper is organized and what results are presented.
Read the conclusion and then the Discussion – These will tell you how the authors interpreted the results, if the study answered the question asked, and how it might compare with results from other studies. Read the methods last if you want the details on what the specifics of the experiment were.
Consider the source of the article and check the publication date – older articles may contain outdated material.
Author: Gerri Smoluk, PhD, AML Network Manager
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