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Journals & Periodicals: Identifying Scholarly Sources

Learn how to distinguish between the 3 major categories of information sources: scholarly, popular, and trade.

How to Read a Scholarly Research Article

You shouldn't think of scholarly articles as books that you read from start to finish. You're trying to get information and to quickly determine whether a particular article is going to be helpful to you!


Look at:

  1. The title
  2. The abstract (summary)
  3. Read the introduction
  4. Read the section headings used in the article
  5. Skip to the discussion/conclusion


Still looks good? Start reading all the through. Read once for an overall impression, then read a second time (or more) to start taking notes and highlighting choice bits.


Reading Scholarly Articles: Additional Resources

How Do I Even Read That? (University of Maryland Libraries)

How to Read a Scientific Paper (Purdue University)

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article (North Carolina State University Libraries)

How to Read, Take Notes On and Understand Journal Articles [Video 5:32]