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Electrical and Computer Engineering

How to Read a Scientific Article

Handout Summary: Reading a scientific article is a complex task. The worst way to approach this task is to treat it like the reading of a textbook—reading from title to literature cited, digesting every word along the way without any reflection or criticism. Rather, you should begin by skimming the article to identify its structure and features. As you read, look for the author’s main points. Generate questions before, during, and after reading. Draw inferences based on your own experiences and knowledge. And to really improve understanding and recall, take notes as you read. This handout discusses each of these strategies in more detail.

  1. Skim the article and identify its structure
  2. Distinguish main points
  3. Generate questions and be aware of your understanding
  4. Draw inferences
  5. Take notes as you read

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