How to read an academic article (a Scholarly Journal Article)

Skimming the text

This reading strategy consists of reading the article quickly in order to find out what it is about and how it is organised. This can be done by reading certain areas of an article for specific keywords that will point to potentially useful content.

Know what you want

Before you start skimming, you need to think of what you want from the article and what keywords or terms you hope to find. Think of two or three terms that describe what you want to know, and as you skim, keep an eye out for those terms. Skimming without knowing what you hope to find can cause drowsiness and lack of attention, defeating the purpose of skimming.

Initially, just read the first sentence of each paragraph. This introductory sentence usually describes what information will follow in that paragraph, if the start of a sentence holds no promise of it giving you the information you want, skip to the next sentence

Read vertically as well as horizontally

When skimming over a longer section of text, move your eyes vertically as much as you move your eyes horizontally. In other words, you move your eyes down the page as much as you move them from side to side.

In Summary

Read the title, the abstract, the introduction etc., and any headings and subheadings

Read the first sentence of each paragraph

Read text by checking for keywords rather than trying to fully understand the information in the sentence

Look at illustrations (photographs, pictures, charts, diagrams, tables)

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Author: Mulugeta Woldetsadik, Librarian/Information Professional at Hawassa University, Ethiopia [21st Century LIS Network: Information_Knowledge Retrieval & Dissemination Platform]

Mulugeta Woldetsadik, Librarian/Information Professional @ Hawassa University, , Sidama Region, Ethiopia

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