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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
hey
Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
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
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
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
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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