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Family Life Education Methodology: How to Read Research Articles

Reading research articles

Reading research articles is very different than reading for fun. Below are some tips on reading research articles.

1. Read the abstract first: This step will help you to make sure that the article is really useful for your project. 

2. Know why you are reading: Do you need an in-depth understanding or just the basics? Depending on the purpose or your need, you may not need to read the entire article. For example do you just need to know the purpose of the study and why it is important? Then you just need to read the introduction and literature review sections. 

3. Make sure you understand the parts of a research article: Understanding the parts of the article will make it easier for you to read it, this will keep you from getting lost. It may also be helpful to read the article in sections instead of all at once. 

4. Use the graphics to help you understand: If you find the results section difficult to understand look at the graphics (tables or charts) provided. Many times the information provided in the text is also provided graphical. 

5. Take notes: Many times the articles can be long and confusing. If you take notes then you can use those to summarize the article later on instead of having to reread the entire article.  

6. Leave yourself enough time: Reading a research article takes longer than reading for fun. Make sure to leave yourself enough time to read the article and even time to reread specific sections if necessary.