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Kimberly Hoffman
Dept of Learning Initiatives
Rush Rhees, Office 106

Finding Research Articles the Easy Way

The easiest way to search for research articles is to use Google Scholar.

  • If you're on campus, Google Scholar will automatically connect you to all of the University of Rochester's resources.
  • If you're off campus, follow the instructions below. 

How to Pick a Research Topic

You are ready to begin researching a topic when you can answer the following questions: 

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Who cares about this problem and why?
  • What have others already done to solve this problem? Where are the gaps in that work?
  • What is your proposed solution to the problem?
  • What's new about your approach?
  • How can you demonstrate it is a good solution?

Adapted from How to Choose a Research Topic

How to Read A Research Article

Reading a research article is different from reading any other type of source. There are specific strategies you can use to save time and gain a deeper understanding of what you are researching.

Strategy 1: Preview 

  • Read the abstract, introduction and conclusion; look for relevant keywords or phrases
    • If you like what you saw, read the whole article
    • If you don't find what you're looking for, stop reading and move on to the next article

Strategy 2: Notes

  • Take notes in the margins; don't use a highlighter
    • Jot down words, ideas, phrases that occur to you while you read
    • Ask questions: "Why am I being asked to read this?" "What is the author's main argument?" "Why do they use these examples/evidence to support their claims"
    • Ask these questions in class, or use them as jumping-off points for your papers

Strategy 3: Analyze

  • In point form, outline the author's argument; pay attention to how they make connections between ideas
  • Then, in a few sentences, describe: 
    • What is the author asserting
    • What reasons/evidence do they provide to convince you
    • Any points where the reasoning breaks down: things that do not make sense, conclusions that are drawn prematurely, etc.

More Ways to Find Research Articles

You can also find articles using a library database.

A library database is an organized collection of articles that lets you search search for a particular topic, article, or book in a variety of ways (e.g., keyword, subject, author, title).

Materials and information available in a library database may never appear in a Google Scholar search, or in a Google search. If Google isn't giving you what you need, try one of the databases below: 

Breaking down a research topic