Reading Scholarly Sources

screen shots Once you've found some scholarly sources (academic journal articles, for example), you may find that they're written using scientific terminology or have complicated information about research methodology.  

How do you "digest" that sort of information?

  1. Look at the abstract
    The abstract of an academic article or case study is typically a paragraph at the very beginning which describes the study, the process, and the findings. This is a great way to tell if the article or study is relevant to your own research.
  2. Read the introduction
    Often the first few paragraphs of the article or study itself describe the reason for the research and a bit of background information to help you understand the context for the rest of the information.
  3. Skip to the conclusion
    That's right! Jump to the very end of the article or study and look for the discussion or conclusion of the research. This will tell you what the findings are and if they support your own research/thesis.
  4. Review the entire article and locate the "quotable" information
    Once you understand what the article or study is proving and the basic information being stated, look for specific quotes or sentences you can quote or summarize in your own work. These should be statements which speak to the overall findings or scientific evidence that the article or study is proving.
  5. Look at the bibliography
    If you've found an article or book which is relevant for your topic, use its bibliography to locate even MORE sources on that topic!

NEXT: Managing Information from your Sources