We have previously written a number of blog posts about how to find scientific articles, how to avoid plagiarism and how to cite correctly but nothing about how to read the texts that you find. This is also a competence in its own right and it is needed to get something out of the texts.
Scientific texts have often the following structure IMR(A)D, introduction, method, results (analysis), discussion, In this blog post you will get a couple of tips on how to read and better understand them.
Abstract has the purpose of giving you a quick indication whether the article is of interest to you or not. It should contain an aim or purpose for the study, how it is done, which results ar presented and which are the conclusions. The introduction has two purposes: create interest and also to set the study in a general and field specific context though presenting previous research. Method describes which methods are used to answer the questions. It is important to read this part carefully to be able to discuss the validity of the results. Results present what the research data shows and it can be visualised with figures and tables. Discussion contains results set in a context by using the previous research. Discussion aims also to answer the questions which the study aimed to answer.
When you are reading a text, try to find the main points of the text. Maybe you can find what is surprising, unexpected, in contrast of previous results or what is rarely addressed.
When you are reading a scientific text you can think of the following questions:
What is the problem this text is trying to answer? Why is it important to answer?
Is the used method the best to answer the questions or is there a better method?
What are the specific results? Can I summarize them in a couple of sentences?
Are the results supported by the research data?
Are there other ways to interpret the research data which the authors didn’t address?
In which way are the results unique/new/unusual/ or supporting compared to other related research in the area?
How can the results be related to what I am interested in? To other texts I’ve read?
Are there some specific applications presented in the text? Which future experiments could be done? Are the unanswered questions or does the results open for new questions?
You can also draw inferences. E.g. “Rett Syndrome is a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder and one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females with an incidence of 1 in 10000-15000.”Comment: Hmmm…can it be related to a gene on the X-chromosome since it one of the most common causes in females… How common is that?
 Ballestar, E., Yusufzai, T.M., & Wolffe, A.P. (2000) Effects of Rett Syndrome Mutations of the Methyl-CpG Binding Domain of the Transcriptional Repressor MeCP2
on Selectivity for Association with Methylated DNA. Biochemistry, 31, 7100-7106
You might be in the midst of searching for scientific articles for your thesis or assignment. Do not forget to think critically when you do this work!
Source criticism is a method to examine the information and facts contained in the sources you choose to use. You value the sources and choose carefully what you want to include. Do not forget to use source criticism on other than text. For example pictures and video that nowdays are equally important to source view given how much you can edit and process them. Remember to differentiate between a primary source and secondary source. The Academy is considered primary sources (first-hand) to be more reliable. You can use following questions, irrespective of the material:
Who is the author of your source?
For what purpose is it published?
Is the research still relevant?
Where have the research been published? Has it been reviewed? ( peer-review)
Can other check the results?
What information do you get from other sources at the same event?
If others have done similar studies, which results have they reached?
Does the timing in movies and audio clips add up?
Who funded the research?
Does the results seem trustworthy? Are there other sources that are trustworthy to say the same thing?
Are the conclusions reasonable based on the theory and methodology used?
Take a look at the web page Källlkritik on the Internet which is a guide that .SE stands behind and which shows how you can review content on web pages.
It can be helpful to know what obligations you as the author of your essay or thesis have regarding plagiarism. On the University web you can find a great anti-plagiarism guide where most aspects of this matter are included. It is available through Ping Pong, but also open on the web from this page (click on the link in the text far down on the page).
And please see the movie where our former librarian Eli Bytoft-Nyaas is talking about the subject and deal critically with sources and references. The anti-plagiarism tutorial included Urkund, a plagiarism handbook that inlcudes a list to look at if you want to know what actually is plagiarism when writing.
During thursday and friday the PreHospen conference takes place here at the University of Borås. It is the seventh conference in order, and everyone who work in some way with, or are affected by, prehospital emergency medical care are welcome. Here at the university is PreHospen (Center for Prehospital Research), a well-known center for research and development of prehospital emergency care and it’s also one of the leading research centers in this subject in the country.
The library have many publications written by researchers at the PreHospen center but also most of the presenters at the conference are represented in the collection. The publications are mainly electronic, but some of the publications in question are available in print. Here you can find links to some of the presenters at the session “The dispatch centre’s impossible task” (both print and electronic) that we have in the library via our search tool Summon: Anna Carin Wahlberg, Karl Hedman,Helena Nord-Ljungquist, Katarina Bohm, Araz Rawshani.
Whether you are aresidentat the University of Borås, or if youarean externalparticipant in the conference: Welcome to browse our databases and learn more about the subject in different types of publications in the field. In the Library Lounge you also find journals like Samverkan 112 (Collaboration 112) and Vårdfokus (Focus in health) with the latter including articles about various trauma teams in the latest issue (both journals are in Swedish). Please feel free to ask questions about additional literature on the subject at the information points in the library. Only students and staff at the University of Borås can access the material we subscribe to in full text, but we have a few walk-in-use computers at the entrance floor that can be used for a while to browse and read.
Text: Lena Holmberg
Picture: Anna Sigge & Lena Holmberg
Most of you already know that the library has many electronic journals but there are also a number of printed journals and magazines to read perhaps seated in a sofa or armchair in the library lounge. Here at the ground floor, we chose not to have so much scientific material. Instead you find more trade and professional journals and some more general journals that may interest everyone.
Examples of journals available in the lounge is Library Journal, Science and Camino. Or why not read Cap & Design, or Web designer?
There are also some more general and more interesting, fun and maybe even more relaxing journals like Time magazine, The Economist,National Geographic and others.
Take the opportunity to sit down a moment in the lounge and browse through some magazines, analyzing trends or read a good article in that particular topic that interests you! If you are lucky, no one discovers where you are, and you can read in peace and quiet.
Did you know that the library offers an open search lab for students? It takes place in the library premises on thursdays between 15: 00-16: 30 at the computer lab, room J418 on level 4.
The Search lab focuses on searching information, selecting databases, writing references and more. Are you writing on your thesis or paper and need someone to discuss with? Welcome to the Search lab. There are drop-in at these dates:
November 5, 12, 19, 26
December 3, 10, 17
If you want to follow a certain journal, start with searching the journal via the “Journals” link on the library website. Next, chose any of the databases in which the journal is available and create an alert in the database.