Academic writing has features that vary only slightly across the different disciplines. Knowing these elements and the purpose of each serves help you to read and understand academic texts efficiently and effectively, and then apply what you read to your paper or project.
Social Science (and Science) original research articles generally follow IMRD: Introduction- Methods-Results-Discussion
Method & Results
You might also see IBC: Introduction - Body - Conclusion
As you prepare to read the article, it helps to know why you are reading it; you'll want to read with purpose. Is the article for an assignment? Are you critiquing the article? Will you be using the article in a paper? Since we don't read academic writing for fun, we often want to get to the point as quickly as possible. You may want to focus on certain elements of the article, using those parts that will help you most. This might mean not reading from start to finish, doing what is called a structural read before you move on to a close read.
Read the Abstract: What is the article about?
Read the Introduction: What is the research question?
Skip to the Discussion: What are the key findings?
Go back to the Methods: Who where the participants? What is the data?
Skim the Results: What did they do?
Consider using the following matrix to identify parts of the article and what purpose they serve
As you read an article, ask yourself the following questions.