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How To Read An Article

Essay by   •  May 5, 2011  •  312 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,007 Views

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How to ...

read an article

Reading for study and research is quite a different activity than reading for pleasure. We need to be very focused in our approach to the material, in order to be effective as well as fast readers.

My own approach goes something like this:

Read the abstract and the conclusions: what is this article about, where is it headed, what are the key points that came out of it for the authors.

I sometimes scan through the list of references, checking for work that I have also read, to see how it might fit with other research.

Read the introduction, to get a clear idea of where the authors are coming from, what the context of the research is, what kind of research process was used.

Then and only then: read the article through once, quickly and without stopping, to get a general idea of arguments, methods and data (if any).

read again, carefully, summarising as I go. I take meticulous note of when I note down the exact wording used by the author, and which page the quotation is on; otherwise I paraphrase and summarise, so that my notes are my work, and can be used as a basis for future writing or class discussion. This process helps me fix the material in my mind.

After that I will often try to write a very brief summary of the key things from the paper, just one or two sentences.

While I am paraphrasing and summarising, I will often note down questions, queries and comments as I go, so that I remember them for next time.

This might seem like a very slow process, but it is time well spent, as the thorough reading means that when I do come back to it, the



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