How to read a research article

How to read a research article

As you navigate through the Resources and Support section of my website, you’ll see that I am adding many scientific research articles for your review.

I’m well aware that some of us will feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the idea of diving into research papers. But you can do it!

First, recognize that outside of some terminology that you’ll have to learn, these studies are eminently readable. I’ll show you how in a minute. It’s all about how you approach the article. 

Also remember, whether you are an educator, parent or other specialist we ALL need to learn as much as we can about dyslexia because that empowers us to make good decisions about what kind of support your child or student needs. No one becomes an expert overnight. It takes time. So be patient and compassionate with yourselves while you’re learning. 

So here’s how you approach a research article.

Pretty much globally, research articles follow an outline:

  • Title 
  • Authors
  • Publication
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results 
  • Discussion

Beyond learning some terminology, many of us get bogged down by trying to understand the Methods and Results sections. Forget it! 

The key sections to focus on are the Abstract, Introduction and Discussion. That’s it. 

The Abstract is just that. It’s a brief summary of the research focus and questions and what was found.  In some Abstracts there will be some discussion about Methods and Results but, unless you’re a Ph.D-level student or professor, it won’t be of great value to you. The articles I am curating for you will come from reputable sources. The scientific method used has already been vetted by others. So just read the Abstract for a quick overview.

The Introduction and Discussion sections is where the value is found.  Just take your time as needed, absorb small chunks of text at a time and focus on what really resonates with you.  The more studies you read, the easier you’ll find it is to absorb the most important information. And the more your vocabulary will build. 

Here is an example of an article I just added to our site:

Practice reading this article and see how you do with my strategy.

Remember:  This is a triathlon, not a sprint!  Be kind and patient! And please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.   

How to Read a Research Article

Many parents and even educational professionals are intimidated by research articles. They often feel like the article is too complex with too much fancy terminology. The trick is to focus on what the key takeaways are and not worry about the rest. You may want to create a glossary of some terms but mostly just focus on the general conclusions. Sometimes you may even want to look in the bibliography at the end if you want to learn more. Take it one step at a time!


Leave a Reply