Reading and critiquing scholarly research articles is a skill developed with time and practice.
As you read more within your discipline you'll likely discover patterns in the structure of the journal articles. You'll also get more experienced at differentiating between good and bad articles.
Journal articles, particularly research articles in the sciences and social sciences, tend to follow a very similar structure. You may see some or all of the following headings:
Don't feel that you have to read research articles from beginning to end. The best strategy may be to read the abstract and then skip to the conclusions section, in order to get a feel for the main points of the article.
While journal articles in the humanities don't usually follow the structure noted above, you will at a minimum still see an Introduction and a References or Works Cited list.
The following questions may be helpful in determining whether you are reading a good scholarly article: