Article Title: _____________________
Author’s Name: ___________________ Name: _____________________
Reading an Article
This worksheet is intended to serve as a guide for reading a scholarly article. Completing this sheet as you read an article will help you understand the point the author is making and how he or she has gone about doing so. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate the clarity and effectiveness of the article.
1) Identify what kind of article it is. Check all that apply and be ready to explain why.
a. ____ New Research. Does it present research on an important topic that has not yet been studied to any real extent? Articles of this type may present new research or the analysis and translation of a significant primary source.
b. ____ Old View/New View. Is the author presenting new research and/or analysis to show how previous analysis of the question under consideration is inaccurate or incorrect?
c. ____ Review Article. Is the author presenting summaries of past research on a topic (usually one that has a long history of study) by a variety of different scholars, in order to show the state of research on the topic?
d. ____ Standard Textbook or Encyclopedia Entry. Does the author seem to be presenting information in a way that suggests it is generally accepted in the field as correct? Articles of this type usually lack references to other published work and are relatively general and brief.
2) Identify unknown vocabulary and technical terms. Read through the article, and at the arrow below, list all the unknown words and phrases you encounter. Look up the words you find and add the definition next to each. If you can’t find the meaning of a word (often the case with foreign words), offer a tentative definition for it based on context clues or any other means you can. Bring these to class for discussion.
3) Identify the author’s point. Study the introduction and conclusion of the article and determine what the author’s point is. Authors should state this clearly, but sometimes they make their readers work for it.
a. If it is New Research (a. above), make note of how the author states the question or questions she or he examined and what his answer to the question is.
b. If it is an Old View/New View article (b. above), identify the other scholars the author is responding to, what the old view is, and what the new view is that he or she is offering.
c. If it is a review article, identify the purpose for the author gives for presenting the review, and note if he proposes directions for further research.
d. If it is a Standard Entry (d. above), you need only summarize the material presented, unless a clear point can be determined.
State the author’s point and other information requested above after the arrow below. Be as detailed as you need to be.
4) Determine the organization of the article. First, if the article has subheadings, identify each subheading with its page number. If there are no subheadings, work through the article paragraph by paragraph and divide the article into subsections that you assign subheadings to, based on what you see the author doing in each subsection. Give the page number on which each of your subsections begins. Then, sketch out a rough outline of the article using the subheadings you have, and briefly describe the sub-point the author is making under each subheading and what evidence the author uses to make each point. Be sure to distinguish between what the author is saying and what the other scholars he is quoting are saying. Also note, if you can, why the author has chosen to organize the article the way he or she has. Provide the information requested above at the arrow below. Give as much detail as you need.
5) Give an evaluation of the article. At the arrow below, answer the following questions in as much detail as you need:
a. How effective has the author been in making his or her point (as determined in 2) above)?
b. Does the article make the point the author intended, and why or why not?
c. Was the article logically organized and clearly presented? If so, what was effective about it, and if not, what problems were there? If you found the article confusing, explain why, giving specific examples with page numbers in your explanation.
d. State what you learned from the article. What do you know now that you didn’t before? This may include information that was not part of the author’s point.
e. Finally, what questions does the article leave in your mind? What more do you think you need to know to have a fuller understanding of the subject of the article?
William Londo ©2012
2 of 2