Skim the Article
Pay attention to the overview of the article, at this point, do not try to comprehend the entire research. Focus on the structure of the article (headings, data, figures).
Note the Vocabulary
Write down the vocabulary that is unfamiliar. Some words or phrases might have to be searched in a scientific dictionary.
Identify the Structure of the Article
Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion.
Read the Introduction and Discussion / Conclusion First
These sections offer the main argument of the article. Introduction includes a rationale for conducting the study. This will help you think about the big question. Discussion and conclusion is important as this is where the research question is answered and analysis and interpretation of the data are presented.
Questions for the introduction:
What is this paper about? Write down your thoughts about the main theme of the paper. This helps you focus on why the research is being done.
Questions for the discussion and conclusion:
What do the authors think the results mean? Do you agree with them? Can you come up with
any alternative way of interpreting them? Do the authors identify any weaknesses in their own study? What do they propose to do as a next step?
Read Methods and Results
Summarize the methodology that the authors used to answer their questions, is it a literature review, is it an experiment? Include as much detail as you need to fully understand the work.
Read the Results Section
Summarize the results of the experiment. Do not try to decide what they mean, write what they are.
Do the results answer specific questions?
What do you think they mean?