How to Read Like a Scholar 

To read journal articles effectively, follow these 7 steps and complete the activity provided.  

Read the article in this order to help make this decision: 

  • Title

  • Abstract

    • What was the study about?

    • Why and how was the study conducted?

    • What are the results and inferences?

  • Conclusion

  • Summary

If the conclusions are of interest to you, then read the article starting with the introduction

  • What was the research problem?

  • Did the authors mention any previous studies on the topic?

  • Gain background information

  • What are the aims and objectives of the study?

  • What was the study (research) hypothesis?

  • What protocol/procedure did the researcher use to attempt to answer the research question?

  • What sampling method was used?

  • How were the participants grouped/categorized?  

    • What was the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the study participants?

  • What variables were used?

  • What equipment/instruments were used to collect the data and were they appropriate?

  • What statistical methods were used and were they appropriate for the study design?

  • What were the key findings?

  • Were the results:  

    • Reliable (same over time)?

    • Valid (Did the measurements measure what they were meant to measure?)?

  • Did all the participants complete the entire study?

    • If not, then was there an explanation provided?

  • Which results were statistically insignificant and which were statistically significant?

  • Make your own inferences based on these results.

  • Were proper statistical tests used on the raw data?

  • What were the authors' interpretations and analyses of the data?

  • Did the results answer the research question?

  • What were the strengths and limitations of the study?

  • Did the author state new theories and hypotheses, and if so, what were they?

  • Are there explanations for the differences and similarities between these results and those of other studies?

  • What were the author’s suggestions for future research?

  • **Note: This is the author's interpretations and opinions, thus it is not necessarily factual.

  • Read it again to determine if your original inference was correct or not.

  • What were the conclusions?

  • Are the author’s conclusions based on the reported data and analysis?

  • Were the conclusions plausible and logical?

  • Do you have any unanswered questions regarding the paper?  


Applying your knowledge


Task: Given this research topic, read through these six articles and choose three that are related to the topic. Choose one of these three articles and answer the questions that are listed above as you read the paper.

Research Topic: What are the clinical symptoms/manifestations of systemic sclerosis?


Link to research articles: