Many students and novice researchers read scientific articles from beginning to end, just as they would any other piece of literature. They thoroughly examine every formula, investigate every detail, and look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. It takes three hours to read two and a half out of twenty articles, and the brain already rejects to perceive fresh information. This frequently leads to the student being compelled to purchase online a research paper for college. Do not use this strategy when working with scientific literature.
Breaking the major task (reading the article) into small bits is the key piece of advice provided by everyone, from academics to students to journalists.
Another challenge is figuring out how to do this in such a way that you don’t have to sit in front of the material for years to understand it. To respond, you’ll need to “rewind,” which means determining what kind of item you’ll read and, more importantly, whether or not you need it.
Dealing with Objectives
There are a variety of reasons to read an article: in some circumstances, it is required reading, such as in preparation for a seminar. In these cases, you have no choice but to read it. In certain circumstances, there is still a choice. It all relies on why we want to read something in the first place. The following are some of the objectives of reading a scientific article:
• Gain a general understanding of scientific direction by understanding basic issues
• Get research ideas for your own project
• Seek out people who agree with you
• Locate a solution to a specific issue
• Fine-tune things in the chosen area
This is not an entire list, but you can see a pattern here. You either want to learn more about a general topic or you want to solve a specific, highly specialized problem for yourself. And understanding how your choice of material fits your aims is aided by the sort of article. It is not always necessary to read everything in order. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to decide what to skip and what to come back to later.
Primary and Secondary Sources
In general, sources are classified as “primary” or “secondary”. Diaries, speeches, interviews, letters, notes, photographs, videos, and opinion polls are examples of primary sources for historical research. In the scientific world, “primary sources” can include research reports, case studies, and, in some cases, editorials and conference proceedings. In other words, materials outlining a new study (primary research article). Review articles, book reviews, guidelines, commentaries, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses are examples of “secondary sources.” The term “secondary” does not imply anything negative. The point is that these materials are created from previously existing articles.
How to Distinguish Different Types of Articles Apart
Of course, the simplest approach is to concentrate on the type of material. Often it is placed in the subtitle of the article. Furthermore, a good “primary” article that presents the findings of the study can be distinguished by its structure, which typically includes sections such as “Introduction,” “Methods,” “Research,” and “Discussion”.
However, the set of components may differ depending on the journal. In some cases, additional subsections (for example, “Research hypothesis”) are required, while in others, the “Discussion” section is reflected in the “Conclusions” section.
But the logic remains the same. A research article must contain information about the study’s topic, how it was conducted, what results were obtained, and what all of this means.
How to Select an Article Type
Let us return to our objectives. If we need to delve into a topic and gain a general understanding of it, it is beneficial to study “secondary” sources such as reviews and meta-analyses. They will also allow you to decide which direction to take with your own research, which areas of the chosen topic have already been thoroughly researched, and which require additional research.
If you already have some general information, you can look to primary sources, such as research reports. They will assist in understanding precisely what has been done in the chosen field, in which direction the results of other scientists can be “promoted,” and how similar problems were solved.
Tasks like “finding a solution to a specific problem” or “clarifying something in a specific area” are also closer to primary sources, assuming that the general information in the review materials is already well known to you and you know exactly what to look for. Case studies, for example, can be useful in confirming your point of view. As in the previous case, we’re talking about the fact that you’re looking for very specific keywords.
10 Things to Keep in Mind When Reading a Scientific Article
Assume you’ve chosen an article for yourself, the type of which is appropriate for the task at hand. The most essential thing now is to avoid trying to read it from beginning to conclusion.
1. Consider why you need to read a scientific paper. Whether you require research materials (primary sources) or review materials depends on the type of aim you’re pursuing (secondary sources).
2. Try to define the key problem you wish to solve for yourself. If you just want to acquire a general sense of the issue, consider what you want to know: who worked on it? What has changed in terms of research tasks? What is now occupying the minds of scientists?
3. Once you’ve determined what type of article you need to read and selected the appropriate material, you may begin reading. You should print the article ahead of time to make the process easier.
If you’re unfamiliar with the subject and want to be critical, start with the introduction. This will help you to establish an independent judgment about the writers’ work without being distracted by their conclusions.
If you don’t know much about the subject but trust the source and the authors, you should start with an annotation. Refer to the last section if the annotation does not provide enough information (“Discussion” or “Conclusions”).
4. Check that the study topic and the abstract/introduction content are relevant to your interests. If so, keep on reading.
5. Determine the general question and the specific questions that the creators of the material pose to themselves after reading the introduction. Retell the research context in a few words. Try writing out unfamiliar terminology and clarifying its meaning.
6. Remember to take breaks. Reading a scientific publication is a time-consuming and challenging process that may require many days to complete.
7. After reading the section “Methods,” try to enter the information in the table, if you need to know how research is done in this field and want to compare different scientists’ ways or construct a research strategy for yourself. This will aid in a better understanding of what the scientists were up to.
8. Pay particular attention to graphic material, such as tables and figures, in the “Results” section. They usually include even more useful information than the text itself.
9. Go over the Discussion section again. Consider whether the authors have addressed the issues raised in the introduction. How similar are their and your interpretations of the findings?
10. Finally, look at critics’ and editors’ perspectives on the work, as well as what other authors have to say about it.
It’s crucial to remember that some scientific papers are the result of years of collaboration between dozens of scientists. It is unrealistic to expect you to be able to read through the text and understand everything in an evening.
What are the Parts of a Scientific Article?
Scientific papers, as previously stated, are made up of sections of various defined sorts. It’s important to know what’s within each of them.
A scientific article’s title should be informative, in the sense that it should quickly convey to the reader what the content will be about.
This is more than just a preamble to the text. The academic abstract follows a set of guidelines. It should respond to the article’s major questions: provide background information on the study’s setting, and briefly describe its goals, methods, findings, and conclusions.
In most cases, the introduction responds to the question of why this study was done. This part best captures the context: what’s going on in the sector right now, what studies have been done previously, and what problems scientists have yet to address. All of this should lead us to what the author performed in the context of his scientific work. What contribution he made to the resolution of existing issues and inconsistencies in the field.
This section explains what the author did, including how he gathered data, established a sample or prepared samples for research, and performed computations and tests.
The acquired findings are saved in a separate block. In this section, no general judgments are drawn about what the author was able to accomplish — only specific statistics, graphs, and diagrams are presented. Scientists rarely have the time to paint each figure that they receive. Therefore, if you want to fully comprehend the content of the material, you must carefully examine all of the illustrations and tables.
In this section, you can read the author’s thoughts on the findings: what was done and what was not done. Where the study fits in relation to other works, what the study’s limits and assumptions were, and why the author came to this particular conclusion. It’s vital to remember that, unlike the previous two blocks, this one includes the author’s point of view rather than just facts, and you don’t have to reach the same conclusions.