Scientific Writing: Questions about a Journal ArticleWriter's Web
Dr. John Bishop, UR Biology Department
(printable version here)

When analyzing an article from a scientific journal, you should answer the following questions. Some of these answers may be crucial to your discussion of how your work corresponds to (or contrasts with) the published work of researchers.

  • What was the objective of the study?
  • What hypothesis was tested?
  • What were the most convincing arguments to justify the study?
  • Was a field and/or laboratory approach used?
  • What were the major results?
  • Could the tables and figures be understood in the absence of text?
  • Where were the table headings and figure legends located?
  • How did the contents of the results and discussion sections differ?
  • Were the conclusions consistent with results?
  • How did literature citations in text differ from those in the literature citation section?
  • What were examples of primary and secondary literature sources (list authors and dates of each kind)?
  • What questions resulted from the research?

These questions are just a start. To learn more about specific disciplines, see our handbooks about Biology and Chemistry.

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