Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Biology: Reading Research

Reading Research: strategies for analysis and evaluating sources | Research and Resources           

Strategy for reading a research article

Before committing to read an entire research article, make sure that the article is worth your time! 

  1. Start with the abstract, and if it's relevant, 
  2. Jump to the Figures and Tables, and if their data looks relevant,
  3. Read the Discussion and Conclusion
  4. Read the full-text of the article after scanning through these sections to determine the article's relevancy to your research.

Jannetti, M. G., Buck, C. L., Valentinuzzi, V. S., & Oda, G. A. (2019). Day and night in the subterranean: measuring daily activity patterns of subterranean rodents (Ctenomys aff. knighti) using bio-logging. Conservation physiology7(1), coz044. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coz044

Is there an abstract?

Read that first! A well-written abstract for a scholarly article should provide a concise overview of the entire article. This will allow you to identify articles that you need to explore further.

If there is no abstract, then read the Introduction for an overview of what the authors will be exploring in their article. 

Jannetti, M. G., Buck, C. L., Valentinuzzi, V. S., & Oda, G. A. (2019). Day and night in the subterranean: measuring daily activity patterns of subterranean rodents (Ctenomys aff. knighti) using bio-logging. Conservation physiology7(1), coz044. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coz044

 

Figures and tables

Figures and tables are usually located in the Results or Analysis section. For a visual reference of the populations or materials that the authors are measuring and reporting.

Are these results potentially relevant to your research? If not, move on to the next paper.

Jannetti, M. G., Buck, C. L., Valentinuzzi, V. S., & Oda, G. A. (2019). Day and night in the subterranean: measuring daily activity patterns of subterranean rodents (Ctenomys aff. knighti) using bio-logging. Conservation physiology7(1), coz044. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coz044

Discussion and Conclusion 

These sections help summarize the information in the article, so you can decide if you need to study the important and detailed information and data contained within the Materials and Methods sections.

In a shorter lab report, the Discussion is usually separate from the Results section, so it serves as the conclusion as well. But in longer lab reports or in many types of scholarly articles, it is common to have the discussion included within the results section itself, and have the conclusion as a separate section.

Learn more about the peer-review process

The Writing and Communication Centre: Critical Reading Resources