Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to read thoroughly and take notes. Be patient with yourself - it takes practice! Here are some good steps to follow when reading a research article or book chapter:
This will allow you to get a framework of the article before you dive into it. Understanding the purpose of the article will help guide you as you read it.
Read the article all the way through without taking notes to get the gist of the article and get familiar with the topic.
Read the article again - this time in a more focused way - and take notes. Highlight key points and jot down any questions.
What are the key findings? How did they prove this? Does the proof add up to the conclusions? Were there limitations? Are there lingering questions? What are the implications for further research?
Who does the author cite? Are they relevant to your topic? You can look up an article's citations and utilize that research as well.
This video (3 minutes) describes what we mean when we call a source "credible," and suggests three areas to look at when you're deciding whether a source is credible or not.
Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.
How does your specific context affect these questions? Are some of these questions more important to you than others? Do some of the answers matter less than the others?
Your professor may also require that you use "peer reviewed" articles. So, what is peer review? Peer review is one way to assess the credibility of a source. Peer-reviewed articles have been looked over by other scholars who study the same subject or research in the same field. Articles are reviewed to make sure
This video (3 minutes) explains the basics and gives a quick outline of the scholarly publishing process.
Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.