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Scholarly Articles

This guide describes what scholarly articles are and provides advice on finding, reading, and evaluating them.

One strategy is to write down a quick summary of your understanding of the article right after you read it. This could be on a sticky note or in an email draft or a Word document, depending on what works best for you. Try writing down, in your own words:

  • What problem the researcher was approaching
  • What they did to study the problem
  • What they found

This might look something like:

[Researchers] studied [topic] by [method] and found that [results]. Limitations included [limitations of study]. The authors suggest future research on [questions raised].


Dwyer et. al studied how college students' perceive pizza delivery. They surveyed local pizzerias to determine the amount of pizza delivered to a large public university in the United States over an entire academic year and found that most of the orders were large (for campus events), indicating a decline in student excitement about pizza. Dwyer et. al did not gain any data directly from students, which is recommended for further research.

You might also want to include:

  • An important quote if necessary (including page numbers)
  • A short reflection of how this source fits in with your topic and your other sources (does it present a new or conflicting point of view? etc.)
  • A short reflection of how you might use it in your work (as background info, etc.)
  • A short evaluation (is the author credible? etc.)
  • The citation/reference

These notes are sometimes called "synthesis notes." You can repeat this process with each source, and even build out an "annotated bibliography" if that works for you.

Consider reaching out to the SLCC Student Reading & Writing Center for more assistance.

License information

This module is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0