Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HC 317: Bacterial Symbiosis: Reading Sources

How to Read a Scientific Article video by Utah State University Libraries.

How to Read a Scientific Paper tutorial by Michael Fosmire of Purdue University.

How to Read a Scholarly Article video by Western University.

How to Read Scientific Articles (When You're Not a Scientist)

One of the important things scientists do is to communicate what they learn.  The common way to do this is to publish a scientific paper.  These papers are usually packed with information and written for other scientists.  The problem is these articles can be difficult to read.

Scientific articles are sometimes so difficult, they seem to be written in a different language. However, lots of important information are hidden in them (see dissecting research, review, and summary articles).

When reading a scientific paper, you don’t always want to read it from front to back.  Usually, it’s helpful to skip around a bit to get the information in a certain order.  This order can change based on why you are reading a scientific article.

One of the most important things to remember as you read is to try to avoid getting discouraged.  Reading scientific information can be difficult.  Sometimes, you may have to re-read paragraphs two or three times before you fully understand.  But if you stick with it, you will get to see a whole new world that is filled with cutting-edge information.

Source:  Moeller, K. (2014, June 27). Anatomy of an article: Dissecting a scientific article. Retrieved from

Reading a Scholarly Article infographic by Brandeis University.

How to Read Scientific Papers infographic by Natalia Rodriguez of Research4Life (posted by Elsevier).

© UAB Libraries ι University of Alabama at Birmingham ι About Us ιContact Us ι Disclaimer