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How to Read a Research Paper Effectively?

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

Reading a research paper is the core of the research. If you don’t read, then you can’t conduct any research. It’s a major problem for many of the new research scholars that they don’t know the techniques of reading research papers effectively.

To make research paper reading quick and effective many reading techniques have been introduced.

Before digging into the reading techniques you have to suppose to follow these steps

  1. Download an appropriate no. of Research paper

  2. Arrange them year wise

  3. Select almost 10 most relevant papers

For analyzing a research paper you should be familiar with the type of knowledge shared in each section. After getting the idea, now it’s time to make some notes regarding the main study of any research paper. For every research paper, you should be focused on this main area.

  1. When you are reading the title, the abstract and introduction portion of the paper is careful and vigilant.

  2. No need to dig into the details of everything written in the paper,  at the beginning just look at the headings, and subheadings.

  3.  Read the conclusion portion thoroughly.

  4. Have a detailed look at the reference. Mark the relevant references and check their details.

When you have done all these steps,  you can make a checklist of five C’s, Which can be answered by the data gathered from the above studies.

  • Category:  what was the purpose of reading this paper? either it is covering the introduction part,  methodologies are going to strengthen your research question?

  • Context: Are the background studies of this specific paper related to your work?  If yes then well done;  you are doing great!

  • Correctness: Check the validation of your assumption by comparing it with the literature study.

  • Contribution: What this paper is going to contribute to your research.

According to my experience, the methodology of research paper reading varies. It depends mostly on the purpose for which you are reading that research paper. And it helps us to decide which section of the is be focused on at that specific time. During our research journey, we emphasize the following areas of the paper.  


 Introduction of Research Paper

  • Need to be focused when we are doing the writings part of our research

  • Also needs to know when we are knowing the background of any topic, we can decide how much work has been done on that specific topic, and what is need to be done.

Material & Methods

  • When we are developing our research proposal.

  • During our research, when we need to change the proposed methodology and need to search for any other suggested method to be adopted for that specific study.

Result & Discussion

How to Read a Research Paper Effectively?

  • We need to study this part of the paper mostly when we are developing our proposal.  The purpose of this study is to take an idea about the interpretation of data when you are planning your research.

  • Secondly, and most importantly, when we have done our research and have data in hand and not much clear about the interpretation of data. At this step literature study will give you mind-blowing ideas.


  •  Firstly, when you are doing a literature survey and selecting the related papers about your topic of research. At that point, reading the discussion portion will help you to decide quickly, that whether you have to go into further details of that specific research paper or not.

  • Secondly, It will help you in doing the literature portion of your document, and adding a sufficient amount of references by doing a quick overview.

How to Read a Research Paper Effectively?

So, we can conclude, that for every kind of study it is not necessary to have a deep jump into the research paper. Mostly, depending upon the needs, the specific portion of the paper is targeted for a detailed study.

To make a clear summary of the data gathered from a specific research paper, it can be written in a tabular format. The construction of the table containing the information obtained from that specific research paper is given below.

  • The first step is to write “What is the big Question Author is going to answer?

  • Write the summary of the introduction in, 3, 4 lines.

  • Summary Sentence 01

  • Summary  Sentence  02

  • Summary  Sentence 03

This all will make a sketch of the information shared in that specific paper. You can also identify, what has been done in that specific area, what is m missing, and what the author is going to do.

No split your paper into No. of columns, and it depends upon the no. of aims the author has. Each column will differentiate the aims, research questions to be answered, and related studies from the other.

Question 01

Question 02

Question 03

The methodology adopted to answer Question no. 01Spend most of the time in this section.

The methodology adopted to answer Question no. 2

The methodology adopted to answer Question no. 02

Skip the discussion part if not necessary

But sometimes the discussion part is quite relevant to your own research. Well written and the author interprets that data very well.

And going through it in detail in the paper gives you further guidelines about interpreting the results. In that case, read them carefully.

Mention the discussion of the question. 01

Mention the discussion of the question. 02

Mention the discussion of 0000the question. 03

  • Add some important information that needs to remember about this specific paper.

And it's all done with an effective reading of a research paper.


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