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Student Research Help - Sources

I need help reading and understanding a source.

Most of the time when you're reading something, like a magazine article or novel, you start at the beginning and read it straight through to the end. However, that's not the best approach to take with a scholarly article. You'll have an easier time reading a scholarly article, and you'll understand more of it, if you take a strategic approach to reading it. 

  1. Start with the Abstract. This will give you an idea of whether the article will actually be relevant to your research. If you don't think it will be, stop reading and move on to the next article.
  2. Next read the Discussion and/or Conclusion. This will help you learn what the researcher(s) found out during their research.
  3. Move on to the Introduction, Methods, and Results. This will tell you exactly how the researcher(s) conducted their experiment. This part of an article usually has a lot of detail, so it's easy to get bogged down. Reading the end of the article first, where the results are summarized, can help you get through this section since you know what you're working towards.
  4. Finally, look through the References to find other articles that may be of interest.

To learn more about how to read a scholarly article and about the parts of a scholarly article, watch the video and look through the interactive tutorial below.

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