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Reading Scientific Papers: Part 1

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Reading scientific papers can be such a frustrating and time consuming task. Here is part 1 of our reading scientific papers series that will help you read scientific papers like a pro.

  • If you find a scientific paper online the first step is to PRINT IT OUT. Printing out the paper will help you be able to take notes, highlight key points and write summaries and thoughts in the margins. Sometimes you might not have access to a printer so try downloading the paper and using an application like adobe to highlight and create text boxes directly on the paper

colorful pens
  • Colored highlighters, pens and pencils are tools that will help you point out key points of the paper. For example one highlighter color can be for words you need to look up, another color for main ideas and another color for important background information. If you are not a fan of highlighters then you can use colored pens to underline as well. Use the pencil to write notes and thoughts on things that you read.

  • Pace yourself. It’s best to take your time with each section in order to fully understand what is being discussed. It’s perfectly fine if you have to reread a section multiple times.

write questions down
  • Write questions down as you think of them. Anytime you think of a question, write it down immediately so you do not forget it.

  • Test how well you understood the section you read. A good way to do this is to explain the main ideas of the section in your own words.

What tips do you have for reading scientific papers? Let us know in the comments.


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