Q. Are there resources for improving academic reading skills?

Answered By: Kathryn Ray
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2019     Views: 16

We have classes on campus that address this topic. Take a look at the Academic Skills Workshops Schedule which is offered by the Academic Support and Access Center.

Here is a description of basic steps, taken from a University of Maryland Library Guide:

Many different approaches to reading a research article exist. Most researchers,however, don't read an article from start to finish like they might a book. The following steps will help you navigate a research article:

  1. First read the title and abstract to get an overview of the research and determine if the article is relevant and understandable and of sufficient importance.

  2. Read the introduction to gain a deeper understanding of the context of the research. Do you understand the background information? How does this study fit into the rest of the field? What is known about the topic? What is still unknown?

  3. Skim the results, including the tables and figures. Do you understand the key variables and can you identify some general trends (e.g., shape of a curve)?

  4. Move on to the discussion section of the paper. Focus on the first and last paragraphs. What are the major findings? Are these results relevant for you? How do they relate to the field as a whole? Do you agree with the logic of the conclusions? What further or follow-up studies do the researchers recommend?

  5. Finally, read the methods. What is the methodology? Is it sufficiently described that one could replicate the study? What is the sample size? What factors might have affected the outcome of the study?

  6. Go back and reread the results and discussion in more detail.

  7. Take a look at the Library's Subject Guide to Information Literacy: https://subjectguides.library.american.edu/infolit

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