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"The reader should begin by reading the title, abstract and conclusions first. If a decision is made to read the entire article, the key elements of the article can be perused in a systematic manner effectively and efficiently. A cogent and organized method is presented to read articles published in scientific journals."
- Subramanyam R. (2013). Art of reading a journal article: Methodically and effectively. Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology : JOMFP, 17(1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-029X.110733
(* content adapted from USC Libraries - https://libguides.usc.edu/evaluate/scholarlyarticles)
The abstract, typically a few sentences or a paragraph long, highlights the focus, study results and conclusion(s) of the article.
Introduction to the topic, explanation of the purpose of the study, and presentation of why it is important, unique, or how it adds to existing knowledge in their field.
Introduction - Literature Review
Summary of previous research or discussions published on this topic, called a "Literature Review". This section outlines what others have found and what questions still remain.
Methodology / Materials and Methods
Details of how the study was performed. There should be enough specifics so that you could repeat the study if you wanted.
Findings from the study. Look for data and statistical results in the form of tables, charts, and graphs. Some papers put the analysis here.
Discussion / Analysis
What the authors felt was significant about their results. The authors analyze their data and describe what they believe it means.
Final thoughts and conclusions. These may include: how the study addressed their hypothesis, how it contributes to the field, the strengths and weaknesses of the study, and recommendations for future research. Some papers combine the discussion and conclusion.