Scientific research articles usually include
- abstract: highlights of the major points of the paper
- introduction/background: context and purpose or the experiment
- methods: what was done
- results: sometimes combined with the methods or analysis
- analysis: how well did the experiment work
- discussion: sometimes combined with the analysis or conclusions
- conclusions/future work
Knowing the different sections of a scientific article will make it easier to understand the article. By comparing the same section across papers, you might be able to discern how the science has evolved or the influences of one group on the other.
Questions and themes to consider as you read.
- Evaluation of the author’s background. Affiliation of authors and (if possible) some evaluation of their level of expertise. Sometimes you can check the bibliography and see that they have published many articles on the topic. In other cases this is harder from a journal article.
- For whom is the article intended? Other researchers in the field? Physicians? General public?
- Brief summary of how study was conducted and key findings.
- This may include the purpose or the hypothesis behind the experiment, the method used to test the hypothesis, whether the data support the hypothesis or not, and why.
- Relevance of this information to your bibliography topic. “This study clarifies the mechanism by which the disease is transmitted…..: etc.