Reading economic literature is an art that must be practiced. A fair expectation is that to get a decent grasp on an article you may expect to read the article at least 3 times. The first time is a skim, reading the abstract, introduction and conclusion in order to decide whether the article is useful. The second time is reading the article and possible highlighting parts to review in more detail later. The final, or possible not the final depending on your ability to digest information, is to critically read and analyze the authors argument and contribution to economic literature. I especially liked the reminder to make a document or index card with the article already cited for future reference. I’ve come across that problem in the past when I had written papers.
The parts that are difficult for me is the analytical portions. Identifying and evaluating the author’s argument. Fully grasping the author’s logical or theoretical reasoning and their assumptions in the paper is difficult for me. When I read the article I feel that I weened that information but when I attempt to transcribe my thoughts it feels lacking or as though I’m not correctly grasping them. Whether the data is adequate or the method is adequate blows my mind. I assume so because it is published in a scholarly journal and I imagine that the author also had experienced peers and editors that double-checked the data. As I develop my skills in the future I will be able to better evaluate that information.
TLDR: skim, read, re-read, and if you didn’t get it enough to summarize then re-read some more. While you’re at it make sure you write it down too.