Is your source a scholarly work? Scholarly works offer transparency, making it relatively easy for readers to scrutinize their work. For clarification, please speak with a librarian or with your professor.
Reputation--Consider where the data or information is coming from.
Content--How easily are readers able to scrutinize the author's work? Scholarly works can include research design and methodology to help readers assess the quality of information.
Target--For whom is this item intended and why?
When you read an article for the first time, read the following sections carefully for key points and arguments, and to find secondary sources related to your research topic.
Abstracts (if available): These one or two paragraph summaries give you the highlights of the article and the author's findings
Introduction: The author introduces her research. Often the very beginning of the article includes a review of literature relevant to the topic being studied. The author places the value of her work in an ongoing conversation. You might find works cited here that are relevant to your research topic.
Conclusion/Discussions: Near the end of the article, the author discusses what she discovered and/or concludes her argument.
References: Pay close attention to the sources being used by the author. As you read more secondary sources, you may notice that certain sources are frequently cited, indicating that those sources are important to the scholarly conversation at hand.
The body of an article is usually presented in sections, including an introduction, a literature review, one or more sections describing and analyzing the argument, experiment or study. Scientific research articles typically include separate sections addressing the Methods and Results of the experiment, and a Discussion of the research findings.