To efficiently assess the relevancy and quality of an article, you can initially review certain pieces of it in a certain order:
Reading in this order not only helps you quickly determine if the article is, in fact, worthy of closer attention, but it also gives your brain a roadmap of what to expect if you decide to read the entire article. This technique can help you better retain the information you read.
Source: Scientific Papers and Presentations, 3rd ed. (2012) by Martha Davis, Kaaron Joann Davis, pg. 39
This 2.5-minute video further explains this recommended reading strategy.
Source: Western Libraries, Western University
Identifying articles on your topic of interest is just one part of finding appropriate articles. You must also constantly assess the credibility of what you're finding. Even if you've confirmed an article is peer-reviewed, you still look at it closely. The following questions can help guide your critical assessment of the articles you find:
One other important point: When we set out to find articles on a topic, we typically have preconceived notions or hypotheses (either formal or informal) and often expect the literature to report certain findings that support our suspicion. However, it's important to keep an open mind while searching! Don't discount articles simply because they are not in line with your thinking. Evaluation of the literature needs to be "fair and balanced." :-)
Source: Scientific Papers and Presentations, 3rd ed. (2012) by Martha Davis, Kaaron Joann Davis, pg. 39-42