Education, Science

How to Read Scientific Journal Articles

During my researching and reading for my thesis project proposal (which I should finish soon!), I’ve come to realize that my ability to discern whether a given paper will be useful has improved a lot since I began graduate school. Before, I would have to read a paper in its entirety to figure out if I need it or not, which puts quite a few hours of valuable time down the drain.

My first semester in the program, I had a lot of papers to read each week for two reading-heavy courses, and I found myself struggling to keep up some weeks more than others. I spoke with professors and classmates and did some Googling to get some ideas of how to read long and/or dense papers more quickly without losing understanding of the material, but the biggest teacher has really been simple: just read more papers. This was one of the first pieces of advice I received, but at first, I wasn’t convinced it was very helpful. Why would reading more papers help if the sheer number and length of papers I had to read was what I was struggling with in the first place?

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