Chapter 5: How to Read a Scholarly Article

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Execute better strategies for a successful search. (LO2)
  • Examine strategies for maintaining academic integrity. (LO5)

What is an Empirical Scholarly Article?

Empirical scholarly articles are where authors complete their own study. The purpose of an empirical scholarly article is to share research results with other members of the scholarly community. Explore this hot spot graphic below to learn the format of an empirical scholarly article. Select each of the hot spots on the graphic to learn about each section. Select the icon in the upper right corner to expand the graphic to full screen.



How to Read a Scholarly Article

There’s no right or wrong way to read a scholarly article, but here are some tips to promote your success when conducting research.

  1. Read the abstract, this provides a great overview of the research.
  2. Read the discussion and conclusion section next. This will help determine if this is what you need for your research.
  3. Read the introduction and literature review.
  4. Conclude with reading the rest of the article.

Take notes as you read and make sure to use the strategies detailed in previous chapters to annotate your bibliography clearly and correctly. It is often recommended to read the article twice so you have a full understanding of the information. As you are reading, it may be beneficial to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the purpose of this article?
  2. What is already known on the topic?
  3. What are the research questions?
  4. How does this article contribute to the field?
  5. What unanswered questions do you have after reading the article?

References for Remixed Content:

Bethel University CPS Online Library Services (2019, April 11). What is a scholarly article? [Video]. YouTube.

Heyworth, G. (2016, March 2). How I’m discovering the secrets of ancient texts [Video]. YouTube.

PALNI (2022, June 3). Scholarly articles. PALNI Information Literacy Modules.

Villeneuve, M. (2013, June 7). How I made an impossible film [Video]. YouTube.


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Research and Information Literacy with Library Resources by Andrea Bearman and Jill Noyes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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