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SSYF - Reading an Academic Article

Reading an Academic Article


The Reading an Academic Article student module introduces students to what makes an academic article different than other articles and provides a strategy for reading these challenging articles.

Outcomes and Objectives

The Reading an Academic Article student module meets the following NOVA and VCCS goals and student learning outcomes:

  • NOVA General Education Goal:
    • Information Literacy
  • VCCS Developmental English Student Learning Outcomes:
    • Demonstrate the use of pre-reading, reading and post-reading skills with college-level texts.
    • Demonstrate comprehension by identifying rhetorical strategies and applying them to college level texts.
    • Analyze college-level texts for stated or implied main idea and major and minor supporting details.

Copyright and Usage

Unless otherwise noted, the content in this module and any suggested assignments or assessments are licensed as CC BY.

More Info About the Reading an Academic Article Student Module

Summarizing is also briefly discussed in some of the resources used in this module. Finding and evaluating sources is not covered.

This module was developed in March 2013 by Jami Yazdani, Associate Dean for Annandale's LTR. Updated September 2015.

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Suggested Assignments and Assessments:

1. Kevin Simons' Scholarly Article Exercise

2. Reading an Academic Article In-class Group Exercise (25 minutes)

  1. Select several academic or scholarly articles (contact the library if you need assistance accessing appropriate articles).
  2. Split the class into groups of six, giving each group a different article.
  3. Ask the groups to locate the following sections in the article:
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Conclusion
    • Literature Review
    • Methods
    • Analysis and Results
  4. Ask each member of the group to pick a different section above and skim the content.
  5. Each member should discuss their section with the group and, working together, determine the answers to the following questions:
    • What is the main topic of the article?
    • How did the authors conduct their research/prove their point?
    • Did the authors cite and use outside sources or other research?
    • Did the authors suggest further research?
  6. (Optional) Have students reflect on which sections of the article were most useful in understanding the main points.
  7. (Optional) Ask one member of the group to present the group's findings about the article's main topic and/or impressions about the usefulness of different sections of the article in understanding the main topic to the class.

Use the Reading an Academic Article Student Module With:

Get More Help Using the Reading an Academic Article Student Module:

Students needing more help with reading skills should contact the Annandale Reading and Writing Center.

  • Please visit the For Faculty tab for information on tutoring services, referring students and requesting instructional workshops.

Students needing help finding academic articles should contact NOVA Libraries.

  • Faculty can schedule an instructional session with a librarian using the Schedule Instruction link in the For Faculty section of the NOVA Libraries home page.
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