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ENGL 151: Critical Studies in Literature

Reading Academic Journals

English literature research does not always follow the typical structure of an academic journal article:

Title
Abstract
Introduction/Literature Review/Background
Methods/Measures
Results/Statistical Analysis
Tables/Charts/Graphs
Discussion/Analysis
Conclusion

When reading academic journal articles with this structure, focus in on the Abstract and Discussion/Analysis sections as this will provide you with the most relevant information quickly. You should of course read the entire article once you have determined if the article is useful, relevant, and facilitates your writing. 

English Literature Articles:

Since these articles don't typically have these convenient headings keep the following in mind:

  • Read for relevance
    • Scan for applicability, usefulness, keywords
  • Aim for an overview
    • Use the first sentences 
    • Use the keywords 
  • Remember your assignment
    • Focus on the tasks of the assignment (comparative? research and analysis?)

Reading Academic Books

Here are some quick tips:

  • Read the introduction as there are often summaries of each chapter
  • Read the content page since the titles of each each chapter/section should let you know something about the context
  • Use the index to find keywords, authors, and texts
  • Read the last 2-3 paragraphs of each chapter/section as this is often similar to a discussion/conclusion in an article