Critically reading a research paper

In fact, that's often the only part of a paper that many non-scientists read when they're trying to build a scientific argument. This approach will give you a complete idea of what the researchers did, what they found, and why it might matter.

how to read a journal article handout

Flip to the end of the paper and look at the funding source and any potential conflicts of interest. It's a peer-reviewed report of new research on a specific question or questions.

questions to ask when reading a research article

All of these questions should be on your radar when reading through a primary literature article. Read the methods section. Pay careful attention to them!

Critically reading a research paper

Third, I check to see if there is a Perspective by another scientist. In some cases, I am able to directly extract the information I need from the results or figures and tables. Takeaways Always read with a critical eye. You will be doing THEM a favor by having them explain to you in terms you understand what a complex paper means. Write one or more paragraphs to summarize the results for each experiment, each figure, and each table. I also have thrown up my hands in frustration and tossed the offending papers away, never to read them again. Do you agree with them? This number is only increasing. The introduction of the paper will provide any necessary background information and introduce the rationale for the study. Sometimes, it is also important to pay attention to why the authors decided to conduct an experiment in a certain way. It can also be interesting to understand why the authors thought they were doing the study introduction and what they think the results mean discussion. The process will go much faster as you gain experience. The sample size.

Reading a single paper may take you a very long time at first, but be patient with yourself. If it is a very dense article, sometimes it will require a few read-throughs before it all starts to make sense.

How to read research papers quickly

Sometimes I am curious to see who in the field has—or more likely has not—been referenced, to see whether the authors are choosing to ignore certain aspects of the research. Then you can quickly skim a paper to know its contribution. It also can help you to determine the strength of the evidence. It's OK to change your mind in light of the authors' interpretation -- in fact, you probably will if you're still a beginner at this kind of analysis -- but it's a really good habit to start forming your own interpretations before you read those of others. Begin by reading the introduction, not the abstract. It can also be interesting to understand why the authors thought they were doing the study introduction and what they think the results mean discussion. Were the researchers blinded? So, work your way through the figures, using the figure legends to help you make sense of things, and flip to the methods to clarify things as necessary.

Oh, X influences Y. Should I need more detail, I access any provided data repositories or supplemental information. But certain sections might not need as deep an understanding as others.

Identify the big question.

How to read a scientific article purugganan

Sometimes I get angry about the authors not writing clearly enough, omitting essential points and dwelling on superfluous nonsense. If you want to make it a productive exercise, you need to have a clear idea of which kind of information you need to get in the first place, and then focus on that aspect. Are there any studies they left out? Most often, what I am trying to get out of the papers is issues of methodology, experimental design, and statistical analysis. The abstract is that dense first paragraph at the very beginning of a paper. Only when you have a grasp of the figures and methods should you read the text of the results. Next, note a few other article characteristics. Here's a place where I do recommend you use Google! When this happens, I break it down into chunks and will read it over the course of a few days, if possible.

Ask yourself questions as you go.

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How to Read and Understand a Scientific Paper: A Step