As preparation, I've asked for a few readings as the topic is something new to me (as most things I've never done before are). I got 10 papers to read now.
How I read Scientific Articles
- Read it once through in order without doing much else
- Go back to the abstract to recap exactly what I just read
- Read the introduction because by this point I'm probably extremely confused
- Underline and define terms I'm unfamiliar with in the introduction
- Try to find the main questions being asked in the introduction--> highlight
- Go straight to results to see the answers to the questions- scribble down my own conclusions
- Go back to introduction to see if what I thought makes somewhat sense with background theory
- Read the methods to try to get a better understanding of how the results came to be
- Be confused because the methods are probably beyond me... hell I'll need a whole other list to describe how I read the methods section
- Read results again; fix up some previous conclusions based on review of intro and maybe slight understandings of the methods
- Read conclusion to see if their conclusions match/contradict my own
- Read discussion to see how they reached their conclusions
- Eat chocolate
In all seriousness, usually when I get confused, I just go back to my introduction. So really the point where I define the terms in the introduction and analyze it deeply is a really important step for me. Usually I try to read several articles at once, after I annotate the introduction of one and get confused by results/methods, I'll move onto another. Since most of the articles are very related, it helps with my overall understanding of the topic.
Reading the Methods
- Prepare self mentally and emotionally (as I most likely will feel like a failure)
- Read once through, mentally note things I understand/have seen before: highlight
- If highlight!=Null: Be proud I know some stuff; else: sink into deep depression
- Read through again and underline terms/techniques I have never heard of
- Cry because there are too many underlines
- Google all unknown terms/techniques: add findings to page
- Read again and try to actually understand what's going on
- Be confused
- Carry on with rest of reading the paper and hope that my subconscious can figure things out
Overall, I think it takes me quite a bit of time to read an article fully. Depending on how much I actually understand of it and how much I need to understand it, it takes between 30min to 5 days.
Now I'm going to stop blogging and get back to reading these articles.