Active reading for graduate students


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Active reading for graduate students

  1. 1. ACTIVE READING FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS For: Grad School 101 Kennesaw State University 9/28/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD Librarian Professor for Graduate Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences Sturgis Library 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  2. 2. Passive and active reading • Passive reading • I’ll go wherever the author wants to take me • Start at the beginning, read to the end • Active reading • Have a conscious framework for the reading • Make conscious connections to a field of knowledge • Answer predetermined questions as you read • Read strategically, not in linear fashion 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  3. 3. Strategic reading • Establish your framework • Start with pre-reading • Look at the roadmap in the work • Title • Table of contents • Section headings • Citations & bibliography • Number and type of the following reading steps depends on: • Your familiarity with the subject • How much you need to know • How complex the material is • How well written and organized the material is 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  4. 4. Starting to Read • First reading: • Abstract, foreword, introduction, findings, conclusion • Tells you where the author is going • Any notes at this stage will just be highlights, marking things you want to come back to, perhaps noting questions 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  5. 5. Middle reading • If it’s a long work, the next read is skimming to see how the argument develops • Key chapters – opening and conclusions are the likeliest parts • Now you should be able to answer the question, what is this work about, as a whole? • You may also grasp what its significance is 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  6. 6. Middle reading, continued • If it is a difficult work (for you), you may need more preparatory reading • A superficial reading through without stopping to figure out what you don’t understand • If you own the book, you may want to mark it up: • Underline (sparingly) major points • Comments, questions in margins • Crossreferences in margins 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  7. 7. Final reading • Close reading for detail and to fix in memory • The most detailed and analytical reading • What are the author’s key terms? What do they mean? • What is the message? • In what ways is the work internally consistent? In what ways is it inconsistent? • How does it fit with other work in the field? • Is the argument well-supported? 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD
  8. 8. Resources • Adler, Mortimer J. & Van Doren, Charles. How to Read a Book. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972. • Ford, Ruth. Note Taking: Effective Notetaking for University Coursework. Jagged Edge Press, 2012. • McPherson, Fiona. Effective Notetaking (2nd edition). Wellington: Wayz Press, 2007. • Sweeney, Miriam. “How to Read for Grad School,” in Feminist Research in Critical Information Studies (blog), June 20, 2012 10/6/2013 Elisabeth Shields, PhD