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BIOL 395: Ecology (Patrick)

This guide is for BIOL395: Ecology taught by Dr. Lori Patrick

Parts of a Scholarly Article

Each scholarly article is different but they generally contain the same components. Knowing these components can help you quickly locate the information you're seeking within the article.

Abstract: Brief summary of the article, including methodology and results. The abstract is a good place to start for determining if the article presents primary or secondary research.

Introduction: Background information about the topic of research, with reasoning for why the study is being done. 

Methods: How the study was done. The details of the research, including setup and how data was collected. The methods section is another good place to look for information on whether this is a primary or secondary source.

Results/Findings: Presentation of the data from the study. This section often includes charts, tables and graphs as visual representations of the data.

Discussion: Analysis of the data, and how the study relates to existing knowledge of the topic. The authors evaluate whether the results of their study actually answered their research question.

Conclusion: The authors wrap up the article by discussing how their study adds to the existing knowledge on the topic and outline potential research for further studies.

References: List of resources (articles, books, journals, etc) that authors consulted when developing their research.

Strategies for Reading a Scholarly Article

Don’t be afraid to jump around: Scholarly articles don't have to be read like a book, paragraph by paragraph, line by line. It's ok to skim and scan! 

Read the abstract first: Previews the entire article, makes it easier to judge whether it is relevant.

Next, read the introduction and conclusion: Learn more about the topic of study and what the authors found out in the process.

Take a look at the tables, charts and graphs: Get a better idea of the results of the research or analytical study. 

Mark it up: Engage with your source! Take notes, highlight important sections. Look for what is missing as well as what is there. 

Find the source: Consult the introduction and references for other potential sources to follow up on.