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Guide to Teaching Students to Read Scientific Papers

Reading a scientific paper is mandatory if you want to write a good one in return. It helps you to understand the existing literature on the subject for use in crafting your discussion. However, research papers are not read like leisure materials. You need a strategy to help you understand what the author meant and why he came up with the conclusion.

Students who know how to read a scientific paper will write the best papers when drafting their own. They understand the content of the paper faster, helping them to conveniently complete their academic work. It is the work of a tutor to help his students to read and understand these scientific papers easily. Here is a guide for teachers on how to help your students who are using research papers:

Use Samples

Use samples of research papers when teaching. The best samples come with a comprehensive guide to critically reading a scientific paper. These samples also include comments by a qualified academician on the information to extract from a paper and how best to extract this information.

Create a sample to use while teaching. Highlight the areas that the student should focus on during writing. Copies of the samples will help your students to understand the subject better compared to a lengthy narrative about how to read academic papers.

Choose the right papers

The choice of a scientific paper will make it easier to understand. Reading a scientific paper will be difficult if you do not understand the subject. Notice that each paper is written for a specific audience or academic level. A paper targeting high school students is shallow compared to one written for Ph.D. holders. The level of difficulty, based on the target audience will make a scientific paper appropriate for you to read.

The right paper also means that its content is relevant. Teaching students to read scientific papers must include how to choose the right paper. If you are studying mechanical engineering, for example, you must know the relevant papers for your course. You will never understand a paper if it is not relevant to your studies.

Compare different types of papers

One of the most effective strategies to teach students how to read a scholarly article is by comparison. Provide two papers with different structures or that have approached the subject from another perspective. Demonstrate how one paper is more effective than the other. In this way, the student will know how to choose the right paper as well as use it to improve his academic performance.

Refer to citations and the bibliography

A research paper goes beyond what you have at hand. If you want to understand how to effectively read a scientific paper, you must focus on the academic materials like books and articles used to construct the current paper. These materials are found in citations and the bibliography. Follow up on the cited ideas and you will understand the current paper in depth.

Teach your students to take notes while they study. As you write down the ideas you have captured, you can see a pattern or build relationships. You can also compare the ideas espoused by one write with those fronted by another. It is impossible to effectively read scientific paper without writing down the ideas you are encountering. Take notes to help you summarize the points you are getting from your research paper.