Reading Scientific Journal Articles On Student Laptop

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I am altogether new to the skill of reading scientific journal articles. Occasionally, I have seen an example of one, but the Fried (2006) article on student laptop use assigned last week is the first I have examined as part of a class. For the most part, it was not an extremely difficult read, as the topics explored were close enough to my base of knowledge that I could comprehend the main ideas. However, I was unfamiliar with the structure of a piece of writing such as this one, and parts of the data tables left me confused. I anticipate that with practice I will run into these problems less, but for now, our second assigned reading, the Roediger and Gallo (2001) article, has cleared up my initial questions about the standards of reading scientific literature, and has given me tools to engage with and think critically about the text. I learned from the Roediger and Gallo (2001) article that in scientific journals, the introduction occupies the role of informing the reader about guiding questions that the study set out to answer as well as providing background information from any research done in the same area of interest. These explanations situate the research in a particular moment in time. Relating to the introduction, a tip that struck me as useful was to read through the first section looking to identify the author’s goal in writing the piece. Rather than skimming the introduction for the hypothesis and then moving on to parts with empirical data, which may seem tempting with time constraints, I can see how it would be more beneficial to take the time to identify and process the author’s goal in pursuing the presented research, and their purpose for studying it. If the author presents that their theory is only one of many ... ... middle of paper ... ... was in the form of a powerpoint and not that of a journal article, many of the same elements still exist and I can see how I could apply some of the same methods in understanding his work. Because of time constraints and also he wasn’t actually done collecting the results of one of his studies, it could be tempting to dismiss the research. The Roediger and Gallo (2001) article points out that you should be able to take a step back and look at the merit of the article overall, instead of nitpicking. The main tip that I have taken from studying this article is to not get too hung up on what you don’t know. It seems that the best approach for approaching scientific journals which may contain information that you’ve never heard of is to identify what you do know, identify the structure, such as the hypothesis and mechanisms of the experiment, and dive in from there.

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