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Learning to read scientific papers

by Jan 29, 2018

Home » Biomedical Science » Learning to read scientific papers

As a biomedical science student, you can expect to encounter plenty of research. But for many undergraduate students, reading scientific papers is often something entirely new to them.


Unlike material in textbooks, scientific papers can be especially dense and filled with complex concepts and esoteric language. Learning to read these kinds of papers isn’t exactly intuitive and may require some practice. Even experienced scientists admit to feeling overwhelmed sometimes by reading scientific papers.

However, reading across a wide variety of scientific journals is critical in fields like biomedical sciences, which are constantly evolving. No matter what specific career path you choose, you will probably make a habit of reading new research throughout your career. To get you started, Science Magazine offers great tips from scientists in various fields.

Most advice emphasizes the importance of reading the abstract and discussion sections then looking at research figures before taking the time to read the paper thoroughly. Some also advise reading multiple papers on the same topic and paying attention to why an experiment was conducted in a certain way.

Have you already started reading new research that interests you? What are some of your favorite reading tips?

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About the Author

Debra Cascio

Debra Cascio

Debra Cascio is an undergraduate admissions counselor at National University, who works with prospective students just starting their journey into health care. To Deb, the best part of her position is learning about students' dreams and what influenced them to go into their chosen field. She grew up in Villa Park, Illinois, and is currently finishing up a degree in general studies from Columbia College in Missouri.


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