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How to Read and Comprehend Scientific Research Articles
Basic Structure of a Research Paper
1. ABSTRACT: Why? How? What?
2. INTRODUCTION: Hypothesis, Survey of the Literature - Broad to specific
3. METHODS: How to replicate the study. Detailed explanation of data sources or original collection (primary/secondary), as well as methodologies applied.
4. RESULTS: Tables and Figures. May include discussion of validation instrument and whether the findings were significant.
5. DISCUSSION: Including questions for further research.
6. REFERENCES: a list of sources that the authors used for their research.
Read in A-D-I-R-M Order
A- D- I- R- M ORDER
1. Abstract (Why? How? What?)
2. Discussion (Answers the hypothesis or research question and explains how results support the conclusion.)
MAIN POINTS ARE FREQUENTLY SUGGESTED BY:
- TABLES & FIGURES; and the
- END OF THE INTRODUCTION
- Provides a brief and succinct synopsis of the paper. Includes the research question, the methodology used to investigate it, and a statement on the findings.
- Presents the topic and specific research question from broad to narrow
- Presents the purpose of the paper and justification for the research about to be presented
Review of the Literature
What is a Literature Review?
- A compilation & discussion of the significant literature of the paper's topic.
- Part of an ongoing conversation. The work of the paper will react to or build on that conversation.
What is the structure of a Literature Review?
- A summary of prevalent ideas by the last names of the authors who came before, grouped by theme
- Explain the leading findings or theories grouped by theme ir idea
- Conclusion about these works
What is its purpose?
A literature review will help you identify what has been discovered and what has yet to be discovered. It helps the reader understand where your ideas "fit" in the scholarly conversation. A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.
Cues to a Literature Review Section
A growing body of literature suggests . . . (List authors and page numbers)
It is often argued that . . . (Author page number)
A contrary view holds . . . (Author page number)
- Describes the design and methodology (Quanti/Quali) (Primary/Secondary) used to complete to the study in enough detail to be replicated
- Often, limitations to the methods are indicated
- Presents results that are related to the research
- If secondary data is used, the full history of collection of that data is presented
- Data should be presented in Tables. Visual Representations of data that help the reader's understanding should be presented in Figures.
Discussion/Conclusion/Questions for Further Research
- Results are put in context of the field, as well as other fields or global context.
- The hypothesis should be answered and validated by the interpretation of the results.
- This section should also discuss how the results relate to previous research mentioned in the literature review, any cautions about the findings, and potential for future research.