honestly people rightfully talk about how bad American science education is but one thing people don't often talk about is that we don't teach how to read scientific papers. they're a weird form that's not intended to be read linearly or really like any other piece of writing and it's not something I ever felt really comfortable with until multiple years of grad school

quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

scientific papers can be broken into a few parts:

abstract: high level summary
introduction: why they're doing the thing, previous research on the topic
methods: what they did
results: how it came out
discussion: what they think about it
references: references

the mistake people make is to read the introduction, which makes sense because it's first, but it's rarely the interesting bit, and it's usually long and tedious because it's a review of previous literature. instead you want to skip straight to methods, results, and discussion. follow along if you have the technical expertise but if you don't you might also just want to skip straight to the discussion; there's no shame in that either, but note you'll need to have a general idea of the experiment in order to make sense of the discussion.

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quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

the second tip is that you should always stop to read, understand, and appreciate tables and diagrams. the story of a paper is often told through its figures.

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quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

@melissasage reading just the figures can be enough when you're in a hurry and you need to pretend that you read the whole thing

quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

@melissasage I like to read the comics and shouts and murmurs and then I usually put it away

quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

@melissasage The order I often see advised is abstract -> results/discussion -> introduction. (Methods vary) See what it is about, see what it did, then see why and how. But the goal is mostly to filter out whether you actually want to read the whole thing or not.

Honestly, I usually just read in order anyway. But knowing when to skim and jump ahead is absolutely crucial.

quick and dirty way to read a scientific paper 

@melissasage often intro is interesting because you don't have any context so the prior work helps, sometimes i just read intro and discussion (and steal some references)

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