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Reading Scholarly and Scientific Articles: Reading Scientific Articles

Reading A Scientific Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Reading Scholarly & Scientific Articles

Reading scholarly and scientific articles can sometimes seem overwhelming. But once you figure out what each part is for, then it's easier to digest and understand. It's also a good idea to learn where each piece of information you need for your citation can be located in a PDF. See the series of pictures below to see the parts of a sample PDF.

Locating Important Pieces of Information

The Abstract

The abstract gives you an overview of what the article is about.

The Introduction

The introduction allows the author to introduce their research and put their work within the scholarship of the topic.


The method or methodology tells the reader how the research was conducted.

The Results and Discussion

Results tell the reader what exactly was found. The discussion weighs the implications of the findings.

The Conclusion

The conclusion summarizes the findings.

The References

References allow the author to connect their work to other works in the scholarly conversation on the topic.

Pieces of the Citation

Knowing where to find the information for your citation on your journal article can save you time.

In APA, you will need the following:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of Publication (Month, Day if available)
  • Title of Article
  • Title of Journal
  • Volume, Issue, Page Range
  • DOI

Advice on Reading

When reading a scholarly article, start with the abstract.  The abstract should tell you whether the article is relevant to your topic.

Then, read the discussion or conclusion. Starting at the end allows you to quickly identify the findings of the research, and whether or not it would be useful to include in your own research paper. 

Once you've identified the article as useful, go back and read the introduction. Remember, however, that the introduction often quotes other authors. To quote the findings of the research in the article you're reading, quote the discussion or conclusion.

Methodology and Results can be useful, but are often the description of how the experiment was conducted.

How to Read a Scholarly Article