Scholarly articles in the sciences are arranged into the parts below and usually, the parts are labeled. Every part may not always be labeled, but the content will include the following:
ABSTRACT – a summary of the article
INTRODUCTION – a brief explanation of the research topic and why this particular research was performed.
MATERIALS and METHODS – How the research was performed
RESULTS – The results of the research. An explanation of what happened.
DISCUSSION or CONCLUSION – What do the results mean? What is significant or important of them? What was learned?
REFERENCES – The research of others that was consulted in the writing of this article.
Scholarly articles in the humanities (such as history, literature, philosophy) look more like essays. But you can still follow the same tips for reading scholarly articles if you know what to look for.
Scholarly articles in the humanities do not follow the same format as do articles in the sciences and social sciences, with the various parts of the article neatly labeled. Instead, the humanities article will introduce the issue or problem to be discussed in the first several paragraphs and then explain how the article will build on prior research and offer a new idea or interpretation that has not yet been considered. The thesis is then introduced, followed by discussion and supporting evidence, and wrapped up with a conclusion that explains the significance of the argument. The footnotes and endnotes contain qualifying information and additional resources. (adapted from How to Read an Article in the Humanities. Stephen J. Schuler 2014)
Knowing how to find relevant, reliable, and accurate, information can help you create better research assignments. These same skills will help you make informed decisions about real world questions such as buying a car, evaluating financial aid options or deciding which graduate school is best for you.
Use the criteria below to help you evaluate the information you find.
Who is the author? Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
What makes this person knowledgeable on this topic?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
The purpose, intent and audience should be clearly stated.
Are arguments supported by facts? Are other viewpoints recognized?
There should be no broad generalizations that are not supported by evidence.
When was the information published?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Is the information supported by evidence?
Are sources documented with footnotes or bibliography?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Can you find some of the same information given elsewhere?
Is there information in the source that is strongly related to your topic?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
Adapted from Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf