Skipping around is encouraged when reading a scholarly article:
Skimming these sections first will allow you to quickly determine if the article is relevant to your research and if you should do an in-depth reading.
Read the abstract first
The abstract previews the entire article, makes it easier to judge whether it is relevant.
For the sciences:
For the humanities:
Next, read the intro and the conclusion
Learn more about the topic of study and what the authors learned through their research.
Applies to both sciences and humanities:
Take a look at results, i.e. tables, charts, graphs or images
Get a better idea of the results of the research or analytical study.
For the Sciences:
For the Humanities:
Do an in-depth reading
Now that you have pre-read some of the article and are sure it relates to your research topic, do an in-depth reading.
Applies to both sciences and humanities
Scholarly articles are structured in the reverse of an Oreo, meaning that the “good stuff” is on the outside:
the Abstract, Introduction, the Discussion, and the Conclusion.
The “dry stuff” is on the inside of the article – the Methodology and the Results. A key point of the scientific method is that results must be able to be replicated to be valid, so Methodology shows exactly how the study might be reproduced, but sheds little light on the big picture, unless you are replicating the experiment. Statistical analysis in the Results are important, but is typically just the math verifying the significance of the results.
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