Reading an academic article could be a challenging task if you are not doing it right. There are certain unwritten rules regarding this, and you all should know about it if at all you want to grasp what has been provided to you. A journal article could be intimidating and at times boring to read, but that does not mean you cannot successfully read it and absorb its wisdom. How to do it? Well, you have come to the right place. We are going to discuss a few of the unwritten rules I just mentioned, and you would know how one should read a journal article.
In this article, there are 5 tips for everyone who wants to finish off reading a journal article rightly. So, let us find out what they are.
- Why are you reading it?
The way we read a journal article depends on what our ultimate goal is. At times, you just want an overview and do not want to have a detailed understanding of the topic. So, you may skim through it. However, if the aim is to gain in-depth knowledge of the topic, then the process of reading is slow and mindful. So, first thing first, determine your goal and accordingly peruse the article. Either way, you must be active in registering important information in your memory so that your goal is met.
- Read the abstract
Let us be honest, we do not take the abstracts of journal articles seriously. There is a likelihood that you do not even read it. An abstract offers a concise, consolidated overview of the main content of the article. It acts as a central idea of the article and will introduce you to the various points in the same. Its main purpose is to tell you what you should expect from the author in the article and to help you decide whether you should or should not read the article in totality.
- Annotations and note-making
Whenever you are reading an article, you should keep your stationery close. It is better to make notes on what you are getting from everything you read. You may even annotate texts wherever necessary. The advantage of keeping notes and making annotations is that you can always go back and go through them to get the gist of what you understood without having to read the entire article again. It also makes searching within the text easier and quicker. Moreover, notes will help you have an outline of the article and can assist you in furthering your research. Also, those who read digital articles should exploit the tools available on pdf and other software.
- Mark References
It is typical for a journal article to cite multiple references throughout its content. If you are reading a journal of repute, then each and every reference referred to in its articles should be of great importance to the subject matter. If you are aiming to develop a deep understanding, then you must mark all those references you think will enhance your research. Keep marking them as you read because considering the sheer number of references you may encounter it is normal to miss the important ones if not marked beforehand.
- Know the repute of the journal
Just because an article has been published in a journal does not mean that that journal is of great scholarship. There are a number of things you should look up in a journal: whether it is peer-reviewed, whether the journal has been indexed, how many volumes have been published, who publishes the journal, who sits in the editorial board of the journal, and who funds the research in the journal. These are some of the major criteria for determining whether or not the journal is of repute and resourceful. You should be wary of paid journals because they lack authenticity and would publish any article so long as they get paid.
- Have patience
Reading a journal article means you have to show great patience. Articles can be challenging. Some may be difficult to understand for many reasons. But, patience will help you sail through. Read every word carefully, and if you do not understand something, make sure you understand it first before moving on. In order to appreciate the content, you should not take for granted even a single word. You can be flexible when you do not intend to investigate deep into the article. However, keep your eyes and mind open.