How do you read a scholarly article?


Front to back? Bottom to top? Read every single word?

No researcher has time to read every article in depth. It is important to know how to read journal articles so that you can get the information you need without wasting time.

First you should read the abstract and evaluate whether the article is relevant to you, then you take a closer look at the rest of the article.

Do not waste your time on articles that do not fit your work.


Watch this video to learn more about reading scientific articles:

Order to read a journal article:

1. Abstract – is this article relevant to you?

2. Introduction – what is the goal of this research?

3. Results – what did they find?

4. Discussion/conclusion – what are the author’s conclusions?

5. Methods – how did the authors conduct their research?



  • Stop reading the article if you do not understand it. If it does not make any sense to you, search for another article that will be easier to read and understand
  • Skim the article the first time, then read more closely the second time and take notes
  • Look at the article’s references to find other articles that might be useful to your work



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Library Skills for 2nd Year Biological Sciences Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Stieglitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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