Before you read:
As you read:
After you read:
You will probably find far too many journal articles and book chapters to read for your assignment, and if you try to read all of them the whole way through every time, you'll start to drown in the literature.
So follow these tips for reading articles to read smarter, not harder.
Read the abstract first
The article is summarised in the abstract. If you've read the abstract, but didn't see anything that might be helpful, put that article aside and move on.
Read the introduction and conclusion next
Most of the important details will be mentioned in the introduction and conclusion. If they look promising, move to the skimming phase.
Skim the discussion, then the rest of the article
Read the first sentence of each paragraph and skim through the rest of the paragraphs to look for keywords that stand out. Then you can target the paragraphs with the most useful information to read in more depth.
Scan the reference list
One good article can lead you to another - even an "average" article might lead you do a better one. Take a look at the reference list to find more resources to follow.
This video shows how to recognise a scholarly journal article, using our valuable checklist for evaluating sources.
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