Scholarly articles in the social sciences/sciences are written by academics and specialists in the field and include findings from primary/original research. If you don't have time to read a scholarly article from beginning to end, then consider the following approach....
|1. Read and consider the article title||
Will give you clues about the topic: Does it tell me enough to see if the article reflects my research needs or interests? Does it include: a description? an equation? a process? a theory? a situation?
|2. Scan the headings/sections of the article||
What is included: a literature review? research goals or questions? information on research methods? results, findings or need for further research?
|3. Read the abstract||
This is the summary of the article, usually dense with information. Usually provides: the problem under investigation, characteristics of the participants, the study method, and the findings.
|4. Read the first few paragraphs of the Discussion section||
This section may also be called the Conclusion
Ask yourself: is the article still relevant for your research topic?
| 5. Read the remaining sections of the article.
Suggested order of reading: Introduction, Results, then the Methods section.
Before you read a section, take the heading and convert into a question. This will set the context for what you will learn in that section. Seek out the answer to this question as you read the section.
Results: includes statistical analysis & information concerning any problems i.e. missing data and discussion of any implications.
Method: provides participant characteristics, sampling procedures, sample size, and research design.
|6. Re-read the abstract and discussion section||
|7. Examine the References||
Make note of other relevant studies on the topic and locate these publications through Library databases. It may be that some of the References will include pdf attachments!