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A Guide To...The Research Process

This guide will walk through the stages of conducting college research with information about how library resources can help you in your research.

Reading Scholarly Articles

Reading Scholarly Articles

At first glance, a scholarly article can be intimidating. To get the most out of your research, approach these articles strategically. You may not read a scholarly article from start to finish the same way you would a book. Instead, focus on some key sections to get a general idea of what the article is about, and then read it thoroughly.

The NC State Libraries provide an interactive diagram of a scholarly article that you can view to see the different components.

Most scholarly articles have an abstract, which introduces the topic and key themes. Read this first to determine what the article is about. Then, read the conclusion to get a summary of the article's findings. Next, go back to the introduction to see what the article will address and take note of what seems relevant to your research. Skim the rest of the article for headings or sections to see how the article is structured and what will be talked about in each section. Lastly, read the full article, paying close attention to those sections you identified as most relevant. 

Take notes while you're reading of any themes, ideas, or questions that come up. The Sample Methods of Research Notetaking document linked below gives some suggestions for how to take notes while you're reading.

How to Read a Scholarly Article - University of Illinois

Incorporating Sources

Incorporating Sources

Now that you've found your sources, how will you use them in your paper or project? Research is like one big conversation. Your sources represent other people's voices in that conversation and you should use them to influence and support your own original thoughts and ideas. When writing a research paper, you want your sources to help you develop your own point of view or argument. You don't want to simply re-state what a source says. Instead, your sources should relate to your own argument. They may agree with your argument, disagree, or provide additional context. By incorporating and engaging with other points of view, you can make your own argument stronger.

The below video shares some techniques for incorporating sources to help strengthen your argument.

Incorporating Information from Sources into Your Research Paper