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ECON 202 - Macroeconomics (Atkinson): How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Research Article

Library information and resources for Patricia Atkinson's ECON 202 class

How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Article

Reading articles that are "above our heads" is one way that we learn and grow as scholars. Don't be afraid to tackle a "hard" article. You'll be surprised at what you can do! 

Here's a more introductory-level option for reading a scientific paper:

1. Take a first pass over the article

  • Read the Abstract.
  • Read the Introduction.
  • Skim the body of the paper, including the research methodology, sample sizes, statistical methods, etc. 
  • Skim the Discussion.
  • Read the Conclusion.

2. If the article looks like something you might want to use, put it aside for a day or so. 

3. Read the article again, following the steps above, but this time use your favorite methods for active reading:

  • highlight
  • make notes in the margins
  • identify important concepts
  • identify words you need to look up in other sources

4. You may need to read an article three or four (or more) times, but that's OK! The secret is to give yourself enough time to read, re-read, and absorb the information. 

5. Your instructor or a librarian are happy to help you interpret articles.

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