Finding & Reading

Scholarly Articles

Tim Miller | | 826.4959 | Library 02



  • What does 'scholarly' mean?
  • How can we find scholarly articles?
  • What is the best way to read & understand these articles?

What does 'scholarly' mean?

  • Written by experts- usually academics or professionals
  • Often peer-reviewed (reviewed for reliability by other experts in the field)
  • Reflect research (study, literature review, observations)
  • Written in a systematic and scientific manner

Scholarly articles

can be...

  • 'Authoritative'
    • scholars or researchers in the field
    • technical terms and concepts
    • peer-reviewed
  • Include statistics, graphs, tables
  • Refer to past research
    • points of reference
    • new areas to explore

Finding scholarly articles

  • Databases 
    • filters limit to
      • peer-review
      • scholarly
  • Identifying scholarly articles:
    • plain format
    • written for readers familiar with the field
    • large number of citations & references
    • structured: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references
    • little or no advertising

Finding scholarly Articles

Finding scholarly Articles

Reading scholarly Articles

Think about the author(s)

  • Tips before you begin reading the article:
    • Who is the author - what is their hypothesis/view?
    • What does the abstract indicate?
      • Purpose
      • Methods
      • Conclusions

Reading scholarly Articles

Think about your needs

  • Tips before you begin reading the article:
    • What do you need from the article?
    • What is the purpose of your paper/presentation?
    • Evidence
      • Background information
      • Support your hypothesis/view
      • Recommendations
      • Conclusions

Structure of a scholarly Article

Abstract (Summary)

Methods (What the author did)

Results (What the author found)

Discussion (What the results mean)

Conclusion (the implications)

References (What the author read)


Skip around

You do not need to read EVERYTHING

Read what applies to your topic


Look for useful content

Ideas that you might cite

Specifics to help you narrow your topic



Look for topic sentences

Skim for key sentences that appear at the beginning and end of paragraphs


Take notes

Save the citations when you find the article

Highlight sections

Write down notes - with page #s and article info




Free Will or Determinism

Citations: Stace (1952)

Background information will include references to earlier works

Look for:

  • 'Introduction'
  • Headings by subject




Look for:

  • 'Discussion'
  • 'Conclusion'

implications of results

comparison to past research


future considerations




Materials and Procedure

Look for:

  • 'Methods'
  • Procedures

Who was being studied? 

How were they selected?

What was the intervention? 

What did they measure?





Look for:

  • 'Results'

p values 

statistical significance

tables & graphs

Little commentary

Report of data

Try it out

In pairs

First section: 

  1. Purpose of article
  2. Overall conclusions/ results

Second section:

  1. Findings/conclusion
  2. Recommendations/ future considerations

Can't find it? Share:

  • what you found confusing
  • what you were expecting to see


Quote - Exact Language

Enclose in quotation marks

Cite the source (in-text, reference list)


Paraphrase - Your own words

Use significantly different language

Cite the source (in-text, reference list)



Avoid Plagiarism

Cite every idea you get from someone else

Use quotation marks with quotes

Make your paraphrasing significantly different from the original author's words

Finding & Reading Scholarly Articles

By Tim Miller

Finding & Reading Scholarly Articles

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