Skip to Main Content

James B. Duke Memorial Library: How to Read a Scholarly Article

Databases accessible to JCSU faculty and students.

JCSU Library Site Redesign

JCSU Library Highlights

Suggestions to Reading a Scholarly Article:

  1. Understanding Scholarly Articles: Throughout your academic journey at JCSU, you'll frequently encounter scholarly journal articles. These articles, also known as academic or peer-reviewed articles, are authored, edited, or reviewed by experts with advanced degrees and extensive experience in their fields. Understanding how to navigate and extract information from these articles is crucial for your academic success.

  2. Identifying Key Components: When reading a scholarly article, it's essential to familiarize yourself with its key components. By doing so, you can efficiently grasp the main points and assess its relevance to your research.

  3. Reviewing Structural Elements: Pay attention to the specific structural elements within the article. Each component serves a distinct purpose and contributes to your overall comprehension of the research.

    • Title: The title of the article should be clear and informative, providing a concise overview of the paper's topic.

    • Abstract: The abstract offers a brief summary of the article, including its purpose, methodology, and key findings. Assessing the abstract can help you determine the article's relevance to your research interests.

    • Introduction: The introduction sets the stage for the research by outlining the problem statement, existing knowledge, and research questions or objectives.

    • Methods or Materials: This section details the research methodology, including the procedures and materials utilized in the study.

    • Results: Here, you'll find the outcomes of the research, often presented through data, graphs, statistics, or charts.

    • Discussion / Conclusion: The discussion interprets the results, offering insights into their significance and implications. Additionally, it may address the need for further research in the field.

    • References: The references section provides a list of all sources cited within the article, allowing you to explore additional literature on the topic.

  4. Active Engagement with Content: As you read through each section, actively engage with the content by critically analyzing the author's arguments, methodologies, and conclusions. Take notes, ask questions, and consider how the research contributes to your own understanding of the subject matter.

  5. Seeking Additional Resources: Don't hesitate to consult supplementary materials, such as textbooks, scholarly reviews, or related articles, to deepen your understanding of the topic and enhance your research skills.

By incorporating these strategies into your approach to reading scholarly articles, you'll be better equipped to navigate complex research literature and extract valuable insights for your academic pursuits.