And, unfortunately, I don't know of many short cuts.
Except one: you can pretty quickly decide whether or not the article is going to be helpful to you by reading....
the Abstract, which identifies the purpose of study (why they did it), the methodology (how they did it), the results (what they found), and the conclusion (what it means).
and the Visuals, which, pretty quickly, let you know what kind of experiments were done and what the results were.
If, at this point, you still want to read, here's where it can get complex. But, it helps to understand the parts of a scientific article and what you can hope to find there. Use the Word doc below to structure your reading of the articles you find.
Introduction: What is known, what is not known, what question do the authors have.
Methods: How the authors got to their results. Toughest part to read. Read here to understand how the experiment was designed so you can evaluate it.
Results and Discussion: What did the authors find? Includes data visualizations. Answers the questions posed in the Introduction.
Conclusion: A conclusion will include suggestions for further research - based on what was learned in their research, what do the authors think the field should explore next?