When reading a scholarly article, we do not read it like a novel. We identify the key sections and words, skim each part, and take notes while we read. Learning to take notes while reading an article will help you to ask think critically about the ideas presented and to review your own comprehension, so you can begin to build your professional knowledge. Professional knowledge informs future opportunities such as grant applications, program implementations, and policy recommendations. It also helps you write your papers more quickly and participate in class discussions. Throughout this section, I will provide some questions to consider when you read each part of the article.
Scholarly articles are:
What is peer review? Being peer-reviewed indicates that the article was critically evaluated by other experts in the same discipline and went through an editorial review before publication. This process provides researchers and practitioners with a trusted, reliable way to share quality research.
Why read them? The ability to read and comprehend a scholarly article is an essential part of being an innovative, effective, and successful public health practitioner, researcher, or medical professional. This skill will help you stay up to date on the trends in your field and to critically analyze the progress being made. This page describes a strategy for reading scholarly articles efficiently – your speed of reading will likely increase as you practice throughout your degree program.
These recommendations were adapted from Dr. Raff's, "How to Read and Understand a Scientific Paper: a guide for non-scientists" and RV Subramanyam's, "Art of Reading a Journal Article: Methodically and Effectively."
Subramanyam's piece includes more possible questions to ask as you read, below.
Raff J. How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists. LSE Impact Blog. 2016.
Subramanyam R. Art of reading a journal article: Methodically and effectively. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2013;17(1):65-70. doi:10.4103/0973-029X.110733