UNDERSTANDING JOURNAL ARTICLES FALL 2011PREPARED BY CELIA EMMELHAINZNAZARBAYEV UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OVERWHELMED?• We’ve heard many students ask for “shorter articles” when researching a topic. Are you also overwhelmed with 25-page journal articles?Don’t be!• You don’t have to read every word in an article, but you do need to understand how articles work and which sections are most important.• In this presentation we’ll discuss a sample journal article, so you can read and understand an article quickly!
CITATIONS • This is important if you decide to use any info from the article in your paper. Make sure you cite the article (in this case, Mehrotra 2011) in your text so that you don’t get in trouble for plagiarizing.Full info for thearticle is often insmall print at thetop or bottom ofthe first page:
ABSTRACTS• Each article varies, but most have some combination of these elements: • Abstract: A 100-200 word overview of the article, and may tell you the argument or conclusions. • Read carefully; if it doesn’t sound related to your paper topic, this may not be the article you want!
INTRO AND BACKGROUND• Introduction: tells why article is important and gives some history on the topic. • At the end of this section there should be a paragraph with the main results of the article, plus an outline of the rest of the article! Very useful! • See next slide!• Previous Literature/Background: This may be included in the introduction, and will cite other research on the topic. • Good if you’re looking for more articles on the same subject!
ARTICLE INTRODUCTION: EXAMPLE• See this? The author tells us the main point of his article, then says how he’ll defend it in the rest of the article!
DATA AND RESULTS• Methods/Data/Results. If the author did new research, here they say how they did it and what results they got. • This is only important if you’re specifically interested in their study. Not for a short research paper.• Analysis (or) Discussion. The author analyses or discusses their results. • Also useful only if you need to understand their research and conclusions in depth. Not as useful for a basic research paper.
CONCLUSION• Conclusion: A well-written conclusion will quickly sum up the arguments of the author and may also talk about the issues in general. • A very important section! If you are going to read an article, make sure you look at the end of the discussion and the conclusion!
REVIEW• If you only have a short amount of time to look at an article, make sure you look at the abstract, introduction, and conclusion. • The beginning and end of each section or paragraph can also help you understand what the authors say.• Read all of the best articles on your topic, but its okay to skim the less relevant articles to learn the basics about them.• And don’t be threatened by long articles! A few good articles can give you a lot of information to discuss in your papers.