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Reading Research Guide

What is Your Purpose for Reading the Article

Your Reading Strategy Depends on Your Purpose

Your approach to reading a scholarly journal article will vary depending on why you are engaging with or reading the article. Your reading strategy will be different when you have been assigned a specific article to read for a course and you are responsible for leading class discussion of that article compared to if you are trying to get a quick idea if an article you found while doing a library database search is going to be relevant to your proposed research topic. In almost all cases, you will not be reading a scholarly journal article from its first sentence to its last line on your first encounter with the article. 

The Structure and APA Format Used in Scholarly Journal Articles Should Guide Your Reading

  • The predictable order of elements in an APA-formatted scholarly article can help you hone in on the parts of article that will build your understanding.
  • The use of headings in APA can assist you in locating specific information.

Common Parts of a Scholarly Journal Article

Look for the Following Sections in a Scholarly Research Article 

  • Title, Authors & Their Credentials, Publication Information
  • Abstract
  • Introduction/Literature Review
  • Hypothesis or Purpose of Study
  • Methods
  • Data/Results/Findings
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

Note: Some types of scholarly articles have less defined methods and data/results/findings sections depending on what type of study was conducted and how the information for the article was collected.

How to Locate These Parts in Articles

The following resources show examples of how the common parts appear in scholarly journal articles as retrieved from library databases:

Strategic Reading of Scholarly Journal Articles

Approaches for Efficient First Readings of Scholarly Articles

Understanding a scholarly journal article will often require multiple readings. The resources below present strategies for making first readings of such articles efficient and productive.