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How to Read a Journal Article

Suggestions for students on how to read and critically evaluate the contents of a scholarly journal article.


As a student at EIU, you'll be asked to search for scholarly journal articles on a topic, read them, think about the ideas presented there, and cite them in research papers you write.  However, depending on how well you know the subject, scholarly journal articles may be hard to understand.  Because they're written by academics or experts in professional fields, they may contain unfamiliar jargon.  Some articles will use a complex sentence structure and include charts, graphs, tables, and statistics. 

Read more about what scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals are and how to search for them in Booth Library databases.  See also the Booth Library guide on how to evaluate your article search results.

This guide provides suggestions for how to read scholarly articles and think critically about their contents. Use the menu on the left to learn more.

Tip: Just because an article is short doesn't mean it will be easier to understand than a longer one!   A lot will depend on the complexity of the material and the clarity of the author's writing style.


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