Wednesday, August 26, 2020

How to Read an Academic Paper

With the fall academic semester beginning, many students are faced with reading academic papers unlike they have experienced before. They are likely asking:

  • How can I read this?
  • How can I read this quickly?
  • How can I make sense of this?

Honestly, most of us aren't taught how to read academic papers. We're told to read them and hopefully we learn "how to" through that process. In reality, there  are many resources on how to read academic papers, with some resources available for specific subject areas. Here are two short videos that are more generic and I think will help anyone, no matter your age, major, or school. Please note that these methods take discipline to stick with them and use them consistently. Once you understand these methods and use them for a while, I think they will become easier.

I also want to say that a real ah-ha moment for me was learning that I didn't have to read everything.  Yes, sometimes I do need to read something word for word, but sometimes skimming is enough. Maybe I just need to focus on what a specific article is saying that is different. At any rate, I no longer feel guilty if I don't read everything word for word.

How To Read an Academic Paper (3 minutes) from the UBC iSchool (2013)


5 Ways to Read Faster That ACTUALLY Work from Thomas Frank (2015). Watch the sections on pre-reading, skimming, and pseudo-skimming beginning at minute 1:59.

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