Up until starting at uni, I had never (properly) set eyes on a journal article and so I was quite apprehensive when I was first told to that I needed to read one. This was for a formative research report that we had to complete as part of our Investigating Human Development and Behaviour module. As it was a formative piece, it meant that it didn’t count towards my marks for this year, but I still wanted to do well in order to see how I was doing in terms of my academic skills- especially as we have to complete another research report that DOES count towards our end of year mark.
I was overwhelmed when I first started to read the journal article we had to read… pages and pages of information, what seemed like thousands of words that I had never heard of, and unfamiliar concepts that I had yet to begin to understand. But as a newbie to this sort of thing, I trusted that with practise (and in time), this skill would eventually get easier. And I hate to sound cheesy but I really have found that it has become a little bit easier. I am now a bit more used to navigating my way through the articles, and understanding the layout of them.
They start off with an abstract, which is like a snapshot of the whole report.
This is followed by an introduction which begins to focus on why the study has been done. It also brings forward some previous research which is usually the basis of the study.
Then comes the method section, then the results sections. Personally I find the results sections the most confusing (in the ones that I have read so far) as the statistics can be quite heavy for a girl like me who is not too big on maths of that kind!
The conclusion usually rounds everything up and highlights what further research could be done, and what the applications of the findings of the current research are.
The references at the end are a very useful resource as this helps you to find more relevant articles that are related to that topic.
I am so proud to be able to say that in my research report I got a first! I was genuinely so so happy when I got that mark back as it highlighted that my perseverance had paid off.
I’ve now started completing the experiments for my ‘real’ research report and I am still apprehensive about getting it right, but feel a little more comfortable about reading this type of academic document now.
I am definitely not an expert at any of this AT ALL but feel free to ask any questions, and I will try my best to find an answer 🙂 thanks for reading x