Skip to Main Content

CHEM:2021 Basic Measurements: Reading and Review of a Current Research Article

Reading and Review of a Current Research Article


This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to complete your assignment. If you have any questions, please contact your librarian for assistance.

Step 1: Register for SciFinder

If this is your first time using SciFinder, you must register for an account first. You must use your University of Iowa email address ( to register. After you submit your registration form, CAS will send you an e-mail with instructions for completing the registration process. This email should arrive within 30 minutes, if not, check your spam folder.

If you have followed the instructions above, but you're having problems registering for a SciFinder account, please contact or 800-753-4227.

Step 2: Search for a research article

1. Login to SciFinder and use the Research Topic search to enter your keywords. 

2. Use the Refine options on the left hand side to narrow your results by Document Type: Journal, Publication Year, etc. (recommended)

3. Use the Analyze option to analyze your results by Journal Name. (optional)

Step 3: Select a research article

  1. Click on the title of an interesting article to see the reference detail. Read the abstract (short paragraph summarizing the article). Who is the author(s)? Where do they work? What is the source (journal)? Who is the publisher? When was it published? 
  2. Does the article meet the requirements of the assignment? Does it look interesting?
  3. Click the "Link to Other Sources" button to get to the full-text of the article. (Note: You may have to turn off your pop-up blocker.) If your can't find the full-text, contact your librarian. Print out or save the full-text PDF.

Step 4: How to read a research article?

It's important to read research articles carefully and critically. Research articles are typically written for a very specialized audience. If you're unsure of any terminology, look it up in a reference book like A Dictionary of Chemistry.

  1. Read the Introduction. What is the purpose of this article? What is the big research question? What work has already been done to answer the big research question? What work still needs to be done and why?
  2. Identify the specific research question(s). What approach will the authors use to answer the specific research question(s)?
  3. Read the Methods section. Draw a diagram to map out the experiments, showing exactly what the authors did
  4. Read the Results section. Summarize the results of each experiment. Do the results answer the specific research question(s)? What do the results mean?
  5. Read the Conclusion/Discussion/Implications/Interpretation section. What do they authors think the results mean? Do you agree? Are there alternative interpretations? Are there any weaknesses in the research? What are the next steps for this research?

Step 5: Write your review

See your assignment for details.

Step 6: Cite your source

  1. Sign up for an EndNote Online account.
  2. Find your article in SciFinder, click the "Export" button. Select the Citation Manager - Citation export format (*.ris), then click Export.
  3. In EndNote Online, go to Collect > Import References. Click Choose File and find the .ris file on your computer. Click Select Favorites and Copy RefMan RIS to Favorites.
  4. Select Import Option > RefMan RIS, you may add the reference to a folder at this point as well.
  5. In EndNote Online, go to the Downloads tab and download the Cite While You Write plugin for Microsoft Word.
  6. In Microsoft Word, go to the EndNote tab. Click Preferences > Application and enter your EndNote Online credentials. Click OK. Under Style, go to Select Another Style, then select ACS.
  7. Open your review in Microsoft Word. Find the first reference to the research paper, place your cursor there. Go to Insert Citation, and find the research paper by title, author, or keyword. Click Insert. An in-text citation will be added and a bibliography entry will be added to the end. Check both carefully for errors. Save your document.


Profile Photo
Conrad Bendixen
E237 Chemistry Building