Evaluating professional journal articles
What captures my attention will not be the same as what captures yours. Our interests probably differ a good deal. What I want to do here is work through a sample professional journal article because it is, in my view, a good deal more engaging than much of what you will come across.
The paper I have chosen is Bullying in the early years, written by Karen Weeks1. It is a much shorter paper than you have to write but it has some useful elements that are worth considering. It is not a bad benchmark for evaluating articles of this type.
The paper opens with a story. It's a good story in that it recounts something that is unusual, a little girl bullying a boy who is twice her size.2
So with a simple and short story she has focussed attention on what she wants to write about, bullying. She used the incident to pose questions to herself, a good writing device, about typical bullying. She then follows up with a second story, to perhaps point out that this is not unusual, bullying occurring out of stereotype. It's then that she begins to detail the research she has drawn on. Those of you familiar with the bullying literature will be familiar with the findings and patterns that are reported in the paper. She then raises what is probably her second point, the role of intervention by a bystander.
She finishes the paper with advice/encouragement of what children should be taught about intervention.
The paper, in my view, is readable, engaging, and does not resort to the use of jargon terms. Weeks does a good job in communicating a simple message to her audience, other primary or early childhood teachers.
I was going to compare this piece with one of the more turgid pieces I have come across but I think you'll work out which style will interest the reader.
Of course, you can find papers that are poorly written that do convey important and useful information. The only problem with such papers is that because of their style, they are unlikely to be read. In a world of abundant advice, information and resources, you do need an angle to attract attention.
There is more information on the notes for this task pages.