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Evidence Based Nursing: How to Read a Journal Article

Basic Advice

Read the introduction first.  Try to really understand the purpose of the experiment/study.  This will save a lot of time if it turns out that the article was not as relevant as you initially thought.


Skim the methods section for major points, not detail (unless this is specifically the information you wanted from the article).  It will involve dense language and technical specifications that might make more sense once you understand the rest of the article.


Don't worry too much about the professional jargon that you do not understand, especially on the first reading, but don't be afraid to stop and look up the words you think are important.


If you are working on a group project, read the article individually, and then get together as a group to discuss the major results and conclusions as you understand them.

Reading Journal Articles

So you have found a journal article discussing your topic of interest, now what?

Now you need to read through the content of that article, determine if it is a good study, and pull out the information that is relevant to you.

These two articles provide advice on the basics of how to approach an article.  Once you are more comfortable, the books in the next box provide a more advanced discussion of medical literature.

Books

Here are some books we have available online through the library catalog if you would like a more in depth discussion of the structure of journal articles and how they should be read: