How to Read a Research Paper: 6 Top Tips

There are a lot of tips on the net today, that tell you how to read a research paper or its sections. But this, I must say, is going to be very precise and on point.  Below are the most effective ways, I would suggest how to read through a research paper.

Take note of the title

The title should convey the primary purpose of the paper. It is also a good idea to look at the authors and their affiliations, which may be useful for a variety of reasons, including future reference, future employment, guidance, and determining the reliability of the research.

Read Critically (i.e read with a questioning mind)

When reading a research article, don’t take the authors’ word for it. Instead, keep asking questions along the way, such as ‘is this the right way to answer this question?’, ‘did they do the right statistical analysis?’, and ‘why did they come to that conclusion?’. It is also necessary to consider sample size and statistical significance.

Take notes as you read

Take notes in whatever format works best for you. I would suggest, printing the paper and making notes on it. Or, perhaps getting a jotter to take down your thoughts. Comparatively, making notes digitally is a more environmentally friendly option.

Read it more than once

Because research papers contain so much information, you will need to read them several times before you fully comprehend them. First, gain an understanding of the research’s overall purpose and results, then delve into the finer details once you have a basic understanding.

Examine the references

Reading some of the references will provide you with background knowledge about the field of research as well as an understanding of what has previously been investigated.

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Discuss the paper with another person

Discussing the paper with someone from your lab or another lab will reveal how much you understood and whether you could gain more information from it if you read it again. It also helps to reinforce your memory and consolidate what you have learned.