How To Read an Academic Article PPT

How to Read an Academic Article
Academic articles are different from ordinary
newspaper articles or magazine articles.
An academic journal publishes scholarly, peerreviewed articles written by experts. The
function of a journal is to distribute knowledge,
not to make money for the publisher.
How to Read an Academic Article
Scholarly documentation provides the exact source –
including the author and the page number – for every
important bit of outside information. The article
should end with a detailed bibliography. Footnotes or
endnotes may be present.
The article will probably be long, complex, and possibly
difficult for a non-expert to understand right away.
scholarly — each fact or
opinion is documented
How to Read an Academic Article
Academic journals will typically identify their
contributors as professors, graduate students,
or others with first-hand experience with the
subject matter. If the article credits the author
as a journalist (“staff writer”, “correspondent”
or “special” freelance contributor) then you
are probably reading a magazine.
A journalist may very well produce a
thoughtful, insightful, and important
overview of a current issue in an
academic field, but the journalist’s job
is to summarize and explain what other
people do.
Without those others doing the
academic work, the reporter would
have no story to report.
How to Read an Academic Article
So how do we go about reading academic articles without
wasting too much time or energy?
You need to become not only avid
readers, but also efficient readers, able
to extract the maximum information
from an academic article with the least
You need to learn, in other words, the
art of the skim.
How to Read an Academic Article
No single way works for
everyone but this is a basic
outline that will help you get
Let’s start with a three step process because
no one will understand academic articles the
first time they are read.
How to Read an Academic Article
Step One
1. Read the abstract (if provided)
2. Read the introduction.
3. Section headings and subheadings. But skip everything else.
How to Read an Academic Article
4. Read the conclusion.
5. Skim the middle, looking at section
titles, tables, figures, etc.—try to get a
feel for the style and flow of the article.
How to Read an Academic Article
Step Two
Go back and read the
whole thing quickly,
skipping equations, most
figures and tables.
How to Read an Academic Article
Step Three
Go back and read the whole
thing carefully, focusing on the
sections or areas that seem
most important.
How to Read an Academic Article
Once you’ve grasped the basic
argument the author is trying to make,
critique it!
Ask if the argument makes sense. Is it internally
consistent? Well supported by argument or evidence?
(This skill takes some experience to develop!)
How to Read an Academic Article
If it is a print out or photo copy highlight
areas of understanding or important
Never and I mean never write in a book unless
it is your own copy that you have bought and
paid for!
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