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About Journals & Magazines
Components of Scholarly Articles
There are many ways to read actively—find what works best for your research process:
- Read with a pen, pencil, highlighter, sticky flags, or post-its in hand. Limit yourself to marking one place per page.
- Read for the thesis: what is the author arguing? Flag it. Sometimes the author will tell you explicitly (e.g. “My purpose is…” “The purpose of this article is…” or “I argue…”). Note: the argument is called different things depending on discipline:
- Psychology: purpose statement
- Sciences: hypothesis (also see results—was hypothesis proved or disproved?)
- Education: objective
- Humanities: thesis or argument
- Write a 30-second summary right after you finish reading article/chapter.
- Use active verbs like “argue,” “shows,” “questions,” “explores” when you write your summaries (e.g. This article argues Edna ultimately surrenders to Creole culture.”)
- Break down the article into its pieces: thesis, subclaims, evidence. Do a reverse outline if this is difficult. [[attach thesis organizer template]]
- Use focused questions to get at the main components of the text:
- What is the thing/text you are examining?
- Who made/wrote it?
- What is the title?
- Where was it published/made?
- Who published/made it?
- When was it published? (Is this the first edition?)
- Where did you find it?
In this tutorial learn the "best practices" for reading a scholarly journal article.
Consider using a summary template. There is no need to craft a beautifully written summary—use this template to get the info down.
Rhetorical Précis Template
A rhetorical précis differs from a summary in that it is a less neutral, more analytical condensation of both the content and method of the original text. The rhetorical précis is a brief representation of what a text both says and does. Use the template (below) to create a rhetorical précis.