How to review academic articles: A helpful template for students

In my university-level Effective Learning class this semester, one of the topics we covered was how to review scholarly and academic journal articles. The students are all undergraduates and many of them said that they don’t really know how to read journal articles. Their attention withers and they find them dry and boring. Not surprising, really. Many academic journal articles are dry and boring!

We talked about how to make the reading process active. I brought in one of my own journals that I started using in grad school. I now have several hard-cover, coil-bound note books that are full of my hand written notes and quotations from journal articles, along with the title, authors and other citation information. That’s one way to do it. The problem is that after you have filled up a few such journals, it’s hard to remember where to find information and quotations from specific articles.

So, I developed a template for them that would help them to make their reading a more active and engaging process. It also has a place for their own critical response and reflection on the article. They found it helpful, so I thought I’d share it with you:

Template for reviewing academic and scholarly articles

Feel free to share it with other university students who find it hard to stay awake while reading academic journal articles.


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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