Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Geography 104

Assistance for GEOG 104 mapping assignment, Fall 2019

How to Read a Scholarly Article

How to Read a Scholarly Article (Accessible View)

1. Read the abstract

An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion

This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction

This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph

These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article

Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

Cite Your Sources

There are several citation formats, APA, MLA, and Chicago are the most common. In the discipline of Geography, APA style is the conventional format, but for the purposes of this assignment you can use any style as long as you pick one and are consistent throughout your paper. See the Cite Your Sources link below for information on creating citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago format.

Integrate Sources Into Your Paper

There are three ways you can integrate sources into your paper.

  1. Quote: Any time you use the exact wording found in a source it needs to be "quoted." Use only when the source has written something in an interesting or distinctive way.
  2. Paraphrase: Paraphrasing puts an excerpt from a source into your own words, rephrasing but not shortening it. Paraphrase when a quote won’t quite fit into the grammar or tone of your own writing.
  3.  Summarize: Summarizing boils a text down to its essential points. It is especially useful for incorporating other authors’ big ideas without sacrificing too much space in your own writing. 

For more information and to see examples of how to integrate sources, see the Integrate Sources Into Your Paper link below.


What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another as if they were your own. It can be an intentional or unintentional act, but either way there can be severe consequences. The information below will help you understand and avoid plagiarism.

If you have additional questions about plagiarism, contact your class instructor, the Writers Workshop or Ask a Librarian.

How do you know if you are plagiarizing?

The following are all examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying the words of others, whether from a source or another student.
  • Putting your name on a paper written by someone else.
  • Purchasing or downloading a paper from the Internet and turning it in.
  • Paraphrasing (rewriting in your own words) a source and not documenting it.
  • Not using quotations marks properly when using material from another source.

How can you avoid plagiarism?

  • Make sure you have the complete citations for all your sources.
  • You must include both the URL and date you visited the site for Internet resources cited.
  • Keep careful records of your research. Note where in your paper you use a particular resource.

More specific guidelines and information to help you recognize and avoid plagiarism are available on the following pages: