You should be able to answer these questions as your read. (Note: These are broken up by section and are in the order of how we suggest you read the sources (which isn't start to finish!). Questions that are particularly important for this project are in bold
- Is this relevant to my research? How/how not?
- What do I know about the research from the abstract. What questions do I have?
- Why did the authors do this study?
- What problem is the study trying to solve?
- How is this research unique?
- How is this research related to my project?
- What other research exists in relation to this topic?
Discussion / Conclusion
- What did the researchers conclude? Why?
- Are there any weaknesses in the authors' analysis and conclusions? What are they?
- Are the findings unique and supported by other work in the field?
- Given the results of this research, what other research could be conducted next to further explore this topic?
- Which cited articles should I read to further my understanding of this topic?
- What other authors are conducting significant research in this field?
- How was this research conducted?
- What was the sample size? Is it representative of the larger population?
- How could I repeat the authors' work? Would I need more information to conduct the experiments and analyses myself?
- What data did the study produce?
- Do the figures and tables accurately present the same data/results discussed in the text? Do you understand them?
- Are all the results presented factually and free of bias?
- What major factors could affect the results?
- Given the results presented, what conclusion can you draw from the data?
This list adapted from University of New Mexico's Biology 203L: Ecology and Evolution Guide