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Conduct a Literature Review

A guide to walk you through the process of doing a literature review

Strategies for Reading Articles

You do not need to read the entire article in order - for each article you found. Watch these two videos to learn a few key strategies for reading articles more efficiently.

5 Tips for Reading Journal Articles [3:09]

Source: Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick (CC BY)

Key take-aways

  • Read Abstract first to check if the article is relevant to your research topic
  • Scan section headings. Think about what information you need and where you might find it
  • Check keywords and use them to refine your next search
  • Look at the reference list for additional sources
  • Read figures or tables to understand the findings in greater detail

How to Read and Comprehend Scientific Research Articles [5:03]

Source: University of Minnesota Libraries

Key take-aways

  • Skim key findings, not Read. 
  • Most effective order to read: Abstract ⇒ Conclusion / Discussion ⇒ Introduction ⇒ Results ⇒ Methods
  • Where to find the main points: Title, Abstract, Keywords, Figure and Table Titles, First and last sentences of the Introduction
    Look for keywords: "We hypothesize..." "We propose..." "We introduce..."

How to Read a Journal Article [10:36]

(A more detailed explanation based on an example)

Source: Southern Cross University


Key take-aways

Your purpose in reading will determine the strategy you use and the order in which you read the article. 

Purpose Read ...
To get a general picture? Abstract / Sub-headings
To learn how the research was conducted? Methodology / Methods
To know the main findings? Results
To know the significance of the main findings? Discussion
To find future research possibilities (research gaps)? Conclusion