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Atypical structure

Some articles you read will deviate from the conventional content of IMRD sections. Therefore, when you begin to read an article for the first time, skim the article to analyze the document as a whole. Are the sections labeled with headings that identify the structure? If not, note what the structure is. Decide which sections contain the material most essential to your understanding of the article. Then decide the order in which you will read the sections.

Distinguish main points

Because articles contain so much information, it may be difficult to distinguish the main points of an article from the subordinate points . Fortunately, many indicators signal the location of the author’s main points. The placement of information and the words chosen to convey information can help readers decipher the main points. Look in these places:

Document level

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Visuals (especially figure and table titles)
  • First sentence or the last 1-2 sentences of the Introduction

Paragraph level: words or phrases to look for

  • surprising
  • unexpected
  • in contrast with previous work
  • has seldom been addressed
  • we hypothesize that
  • we propose
  • we introduce
  • we develop
  • the data suggest

Generate questions and be aware of your understanding

Reading is an active task. Before and during your reading, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are these authors? What journal is this? Might I question the credibility of the work?
  • Have I taken the time to understand all the terminology?
  • Have I gone back to read an article or review that would help me understand this work better?
  • Am I spending too much time reading the less important parts of this article?
  • Is there someone I can talk to about confusing parts of this article?

After reading, ask yourself these questions:

  • What specific problem does this research address? Why is it important?
  • Is the method used a good one? The best one?
  • What are the specific findings? Am I able to summarize them in one or two sentences?
  • Are the findings supported by persuasive evidence?
  • Is there an alternative interpretation of the data that the author did not address?
  • How are the findings unique/new/unusual or supportive of other work in the field?
  • How do these results relate to the work I’m interested in? To other work I’ve read about?
  • What are some of the specific applications of the ideas presented here? What are some further experiments that would answer remaining questions?

Draw inferences

Not everything that you learn from an article is stated explicitly. As you read, rely on your prior knowledge and world experience, as well as the background provided in the article, to draw inferences from the material. Research has shown that readers who actively draw inferences are better able to understand and recall information.

As an example, in the box below is an excerpt from the introduction of an article in the book Solutions to Coastal Disasters (J. H. Jensen, 2000). The comments in italics are questions and inferences that might be drawn by a student reader.

On an exposed sandy beach, coastal impacts and sedimentation are important aspects in the optimization of a harbor layout. Comment: Hmmm…must be related to where to place structures . . .., Hanstholm harbor on the West Coast of Denmark is an example of a very successful harbor located near a headland on an exposed coastline. Comment: I’ve never been there, but I wonder if it’s like the harbors around the Massachusetts coast? The harbor is a fishery and ferry port originally designed by Professor Helge Lundgren and was built in the 1960s at a critical location with about 0.4 million m3/year net northward transport and a gross transport of around 1.5 million m3/year. The symmetrical and streamlined layout creates a smooth convergence of the flow past the harbor entrance and has in combination with vertical breakwaters resulted in acceptable sedimentation rates both updrift of the entrance and within the outer harbor. Comment: What happens? Something about symmetry and flow must be important. Must have involved calculating sedimentation rates. They must be the test of whether a design is good. The sedimentation is localized in the outer harbor immediately inside the entrance, and a natural depth in the entrance area is about 9 m. The average yearly sedimentation in the harbor is 80,000 m3. The flow around Hanstholm harbor is mainly driven by meteorological forcing, variations in wind and pressure, and, to a less extent, by wave breaking. Comment: If tide is limited, what factors will be important in the extension? What’s the problem going to be? What will have to be optimized now?. . .

Take notes as you read.

Effective readers take notes—it improves recall and comprehension. You may think you’ll remember everything you read in researching class assignments, professional papers, proposals, or your thesis, but details will slip away. Develop a template for recording notes on articles you read, or adapt the template below for use. As you accumulate a large collection of articles, this template will help you distinguish articles and quickly locate the correct reference for your own writing. The time spent filling out the form will save you hours of rereading when you write a Background, Related Work, or a Literature Review section.

Template for taking notes on research articles: easy access for later use

Whenever you read an article, pertinent book chapter, or research on the web, use the following format (or something similar) to make an electronic record of your notes for later easy access. Put quotation marks around any exact wording you write down so that you can avoid accidental plagiarism when you later cite the article.

Complete citation. Author(s), Date of publication, Title (book or article), Journal, Volume #, Issue #, pages:

If web access: url; date accessed

Key Words:

General subject:

Specific subject:

Hypothesis:

Methodology:

Result(s):

Summary of key points:

Context (how this article relates to other work in the field; how it ties in with key issues and findings by others, including yourself):

Significance (to the field; in relation to your own work):

Important Figures and/or Tables (brief description; page number):

Cited References to follow up on (cite those obviously related to your topic AND any papers frequently cited by others because those works may well prove to be essential as you develop your own work):

Other Comments:

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
How can I make nanorobot?
Lily
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
how can I make nanorobot?
Lily
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Plagiarism and scientific writing. OpenStax CNX. Nov 16, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10604/1.1
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