What is an academic journal article?
Academic journals are periodicals in which researchers publish their work. They are typically peer-reviewed, meaning that the work is reviewed and evaluated by other scholars prior to publication in an effort to ensure that only the best, most rigorously researched articles are published.
Journal articles offer a window into the inner workings of a discipline. They demonstrate how researchers in various disciplines formulate hypotheses, design research, analyze the observations they collect, and interpret their results.
Journal articles can appear daunting and often make for dense, dry reading, but they generally follow a standardized format.
When it comes to reading journal articles, reading linearly (like you would a novel, starting at the beginning and reading word for word until you reach the end) is often not the most efficient approach. Depending on your goal, you may need to cut through peripheral details, ignore sophisticated statistics with which you may not be familiar, and focus on the central ideas. Once you understand the structure of each article, knowing where to look for important information and understanding the content becomes much easier.