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Dr. Sam Arungwa: Research Assistant Resources: Read & Annotate

How to Read Research Articles

Scholarly articles are often dense and unlike the content you read for fun. However, if you understand the different sections and what you can find within each section - its a lot easier! Watch the video to learn more.

Steps for Reading Research Articles

1. Read the abstract: This will allow you to get a framework of the article before you dive into it. Understanding the purpose of the article will help guide you as you read it. 

2. Skim the entire article: Read the article all the way through without taking notes and get the gist of the article. Get familiar with the topic. 

3. Take notes: Read the article again - this time more focused and take notes. Highlight key points, jot down any questions.

4. Relevancy? Jot down anything that stands out as relevant to you and why. This will help you later if you need to utilize this information in a report, etc.

5. Identify & summarize key info: What are the key findings? How did they prove this? Did they prove this? Were there limitations? Are there lingering questions? Implications for further research?

6. Check the sources: Who does the author cite? Are they relevant to your topic? You can look up the articles' citations and utilize the research as well.

Anatomy of a Research Article

Understanding the different sections of a research article is also helpful. 

Abstract: General overview of the purpose and findings.

Introduction: Rationale and introduction to the study's hypothesis.

Methods: How data was gathered and tested.

Results: What was found from the testing. 

Discussion: Implications from the results and areas for further research.

Conclusion: Summary of the article and discussion of limitations. 

References: A list of all the other research cited throughout the work.

Writing an Annotation

You will create an annotation (short paragraph) for each article that seems related to Dr. Arungwa's research project. The purpose of an annotation is to have a short, concise reminder of what the article is about and how it connects to the research.

There are four elements you want to consider including in your annotation:

  1. Summary: In your own words, what is this article about? What was the authors' research question? What did they find in their research.
  2. Relevance: How is this source relevant to your research project? How can it help you, or how can you use it?
  3. Evaluation: At first glance, are their any major strengths or major weaknesses with this article? What will you need to look more closely at when you read critically?
  4. Interesting details and/or further questions: Are there any quotes, statistics, or pieces of information that jump out to you as really important? Write them down in your annotation and include page numbers for easy reference. Do you have further questions about this article or its findings?