Skip to Main Content

Think Like a Researcher: Instruction Resources: #2 How to Read a Scholarly Article

Teaching Research And Information Literacy (TRAIL) Curriculum Resources for Writing 10


Course Learning Outcome:  Develop ability to synthesize and express complex ideas; Demonstrate information literacy and be able to work with evidence

Goal: Equip students with strategies for understanding both scholarly and non-scholarly texts

Specifically, students will be able to

  • understand the structure of academic articles.
  • identify differences and similarities between popular and scholarly/academic articles.
  • implement specific strategies for dissecting and digesting academic articles.

Peer Review (NCSU Libraries)


Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google making us stupid?." Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education 107, no. 2 (2008): 89-94.

Manjoo, Farhad. "You Won't Finish This Article: Why people online don't read to the end." Slate (June 6, 2013).

Research Journal

Reading Practices

Nicholas Carr, the author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid” makes the following statement in his article: “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” When it comes to reading for information (as opposed to reading a novel or magazine just for fun), do you see yourself more as a scuba diver or a guy on a jet ski? Why?


Lesson: How to Read a Scholarly Article


  • 2 options to choose from
    • Scholarly vs. Popular
    • OR
    • Scholarly vs. Serious (but not Scholarly)
  • find similarities and differences between articles on the same topic
  • approach readings with a reading diagram handout


Activity adapted from Cunningham, April and Hannon, Richard (2013) "Reinforcing College Reading Strategies in the Library Classroom," LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 40: Iss. 1, Article 4.

The "Scholarly-Popular Reading Diagram Handout" is adapted from their "Academic Reading Diagram Handout" -- also located at their blog.