Here is a good tutorial from the University of Minnesota libraries about how to read, take effective notes and find the main points in scientific resarch articles.
key findings in the tutorial
How to read a scientific article
Skim for key findings
The structure of most scientific articles
The most effective order to read an article
Is the article interesting and relevant enough to my research assignment?
- Purpose of the study (why)
- Methodology (how)
- Results (what they found)
- Conclusion (what it means)
Is this article worth reading or should I move into another one
- Clearly answers the question posed in the introduction
- Explains how the results upport the conclusion
Do I understand and believe the author´s claims?
- Stimulate interest
- Put the article in larger context
General -> Specific -> Focused Question the authoer is asking.
Authors describe previous work and how their work relates to it.
Why did the reasearchers do this study?
Does the research question match up with the conclusions read int he discussion?
- What the authors found
- Key data, often in figures or tables
Is the data collected appropriate to answer the research question?
Does the data support the conclusions?
- What experiments were done
- Can be difficult to read dut to technical language and details
How to find the main points of an article
Key places to look
- Figure and table titles
- First and last sentences of the Introduction
Within the articles the authors main point
- “We hypothesize that …”
- “We propose…”
- “We introduce…”
How to take effective notes
Effective note-taking will save you time and help you clarify your thoughts.
Creating a standard template for taking notes will help you organize your research
Enable you to make quick comparisions, and will save you time rereading articles
This text and screenshots are from the tutorial from the University of Minnesota libraries, http://www.lib.umn.edu