How To Read A Research Paper

However, this may be the first time you've tried reading a scientific paper and you may find yourself confused about how to proceed.This guide, which is broken into four sections, is intended to help you get started: Scientific papers are the heart of the science community; they're one of the major ways scientists communicate their results and ideas to one another.

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The quantity and thoroughness of the background information will depend on both the authors' proclivities, and the guidelines for that specific journal.

Throughout the introduction, there will be citations for previously published articles or reviews that discuss the same topic.

There are two types of scientific papers: review articles and primary research articles.

Review articles give an overview of the scientific field or topic by summarizing the data and conclusions from many studies.

For example, what types of graphs are common to the field? You'll eventually need to know this information to put together a good report or display board to convey your research.

If you're looking at a paper and you're not sure if it is a review or a primary research article, here are a few easy ways to distinguish.

And in a review article, graphs, tables, or figures containing actual data will contain citations in the figure legend to the primary research papers that originally reported the findings.

Primary research articles are typically broken down into six sections: abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, and references.

This guide is intended for advanced high school students and college undergraduates who are interested in working on independent research projects.

Students should have a strong background in science.

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