Annotating a Journal Article

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Learn about the different types of academic journal articles and how to annotate them.

0:00 Owl: Welcome to Annotating a Journal Article, an instructional video on reading comprehension brought to you by the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab.
0:12 It’s common for people to read articles in newspapers, magazines, and online.
0:18 But journal articles are a different kind of article, and they often can be very challenging to read.
0:24 Journal articles differ from conventional articles in key ways:
0:29 they are published quarterly in print journals and/or online;
0:33 they may or may not require a paid subscription;
0:37 they are peer-reviewed by experts in the field;
0:41 they follow strict guidelines for organization, writing, and citations;
0:47 they are research- and evidence-based;
0:51 and they are written for specialists.
0:55 Knowing how journal articles work can greatly improve your ability to read them.
1:00 Let’s talk about some different kinds of journal articles and how they work.
1:03 Afterwards, I’ll give you some tips on how to read APA-style journal articles, which is one of the most common types of journal articles.
1:12 Journal articles follow different rules or styles based on the subject or discipline they address.
1:18 MLA and CMS style are used by journal articles written for the humanities, which include subjects such as English, History, Modern Languages, and Philosophy.
1:30 MLA- and CMS-style journal articles share some common characteristics.
1:35 They are organized like an essay, with or without headings, and have the following sections: Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Bibliography or Works Cited, and Appendices (if necessary);
1:52 use MLA or CMS style for layout, citation, and documentation;
1:58 value eloquence and good prose;
2:01 make and support arguments;
2:04 and cite primary and secondary sources.
2:09 And then there are the APA-style journal articles, so named because they follow APA guidelines for organization, writing, citation, and documentation.
2:21 Subjects that use APA style include Education, Medicine, the Natural Sciences, and the Social Sciences.
2:29 APA-style journal articles share the following characteristics.
2:34 They have complex organization with defined subheadings,
2:39 use APA style for layout, citation, and documentation.
2:44 value precise language and use of specialized terminology,
2:49 propose and test hypotheses,
2:52 cite relevant research and describe the results of an experiment.
2:57 Just like any other text, annotating while you read a journal article can greatly improve your reading comprehension.
3:05 Since Humanities articles are written similar to an essay, you can refer to the instructional video on Annotating Essays and Books for tips on how to annotate while you read a Humanities-style journal article.
3:18 In this video, I will focus on tips for how to read an APA-style journal article.
3:23 Let’s get started!
3:25 First off, there are two common types of APA-style articles.
3:29 The Literature Review is intended to summarize a body of research on an existing topic.
3:35 It defines the topic, reviews the literature on the topic, and draws conclusions about what the literature reveals and what gaps or questions remain.
3:45 Then there’s the Experimental Report.
3:47 This type of journal article is intended to convey the results of an experiment.
3:52 By and large, experimental reports are the most common type of APA-style journal article.
3:58 They are usually the type of article summarized in the literature reviews.
4:03 Let’s talk about some tips for how to read an APA-style Experimental Report.
4:08 Experimental Reports follow a common structure for APA-style journal articles.
4:14 This structure is broken down into specific sections with explicit headings and subheadings.
4:20 Each section is intended to do something different.
4:22 Understanding the purpose of each section will help you to understand what the article is saying.
4:29 After the title and author or authors, the first section is the abstract.
4:35 The purpose of the abstract is to summarize the main ideas of the article.
4:40 Read it carefully to understand what the article is about.
4:43 If you are doing research, this will help you decide if the article is worth reading for your purposes.
4:49 Highlight or underline key words, phrases, or sentences.
4:54 If the article provides key words, these are listed after the abstract.
4:59 These words identify the subjects covered by the article and can help you decide if the article is relevant.
5:05 Next comes the introduction.
5:07 The introduction does several things: it describes the topic, identifies the problem to be solved, provides a review of the relevant literature, defines the theoretical approach, and states the hypothesis.
5:22 Highlight or underline key passages, such as those that identify the topic and hypothesis.
5:29 A section on method comes next.
5:31 This section describes the model used to design the experiment and explains what was done.
5:37 You may want to highlight or underline the name or description of the model used and important facts about the process applied.
5:45 The results section comes next.
5:48 This section is all about describing the results of the experiment.
5:52 The results section frequently contains visual aids called “tables” and “figures” to display the data collected.
5:59 These visual aids are also sometimes listed at the end of the article.
6:04 If you’re having difficulty reading and understanding visual aids, check out this video.
6:11 After the results comes the discussion.
6:14 This section is used to interpret the results, draw conclusions, identify any limitations with the study, and point to future areas of study.
6:24 Be aware that some essays have separate discussion and conclusion sections, with the discussion section interpreting the results and drawing conclusions, and the conclusion section identifying limitations and listing ideas for future areas of study.
6:39 After the text of the article comes the list of references formatted in APA style.
6:45 If provided, appendices come after the references.
6:49 Finally, some articles list their tables and figures after the appendices.
6:54 Here are some other things you should do as you read and annotate the text:
6:59 paraphrase important information in the margins, such as the topic, hypothesis, model, and conclusion;
7:07 respond to ideas in the text by writing down your own thoughts and questions in the margins;
7:12 write down key terms in the margins;
7:16 make a list of new vocabulary items and look up the definitions;
7:21 make a note of articles you may want to read.
7:25 Reading a journal article, especially an APA-style one, can be hard.
7:31 But following these tips for active reading strategies can help you to understand it better.
Displayed on screen Student: Thank you!
7:37 Owl: Thanks for listening to this instructional video on Annotating a Journal Article!
7:43 Visit the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab for more support with reading and writing skills.

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The following text was sampled in this video:

Rufai, Ahmed Umar, Ab Rahim Bin Bakar, and Abdullah Bin Mat Rashid. “Developing a Sustainable Practical Model of Graduate Employability for Higher Education.” International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015, pp. 42-51.