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How to Read like a Researcher

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Tackle the volume of information found during the early stages of research by using these steps.

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How to Read like a Researcher

  1. 1. HOW TO READ LIKE A RESEARCHER
  2. 2. HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW? THE OPENING QUESTION OF AN INFORMATION INQUIRY
  3. 3. KNOWING Experience Understanding Judging
  4. 4. EXPERIENCE Experience = locate and browse sources
  5. 5. UNDERSTANDING Understand = read and comprehend the articles that seem relevant
  6. 6. JUDGING Judge = choose which articles are the most relevant and appropriate for the research paper
  7. 7. HOW TO READ LIKE A RESEARCHER
  8. 8. 1. READ STRATEGICALLY, NOT LINEARLY SEARCH THE TEXT FOR RELEVANT INFORMATION
  9. 9. READ STRATEGICALLY, NOT LINEARLY: BOOK A. Read the TABLE OF CONTENTS B. Read the INTRODUCTIONS carefully: Note the author’s arguments, framework, organization C. Read the LAST CHAPTER: Note restatement of arguments, conclusions, recommendations D. Use the INDEX to identify RELEVANT chapters or passages E. Read RELEVANT parts of the book: Skim beginnings and ends of those chapters, browse the middle of each F. Skim the SOURCE NOTES for similar work and field experts
  10. 10. READ STRATEGICALLY, NOT LINEARLY: JOURNAL ARTICLE A. Identify NAME of JOURNAL: Use to identify scope and parameters of article B. Read the TITLE and ABSTRACT of the article: Note the main argument, evidence, statement of conclusion C. Read the INTRODUCTION: Note framework and any citations D. Read the DISCUSSION and CONCLUSION sections: Note “why you should care” E. Browse METHODS and RESULTS: Note images, tables, charts and other data F. Search the WORKS CITED page for similar works and field experts
  11. 11. 2. TAKE NOTES! SIMULTANEOUSLY WHILE READING
  12. 12. TAKE NOTES A. Develop a NOTE-TAKING system B. Use a CITATION TOOL: Zotero, Refworks, Noodle Tools, EasyBib, Google Docs C. Be specific D. Note PAGE NUMBERS of exact quotes E. Jot down your questions and observations F. Note opposing viewpoints
  13. 13. 3. BE PURPOSEFUL BE DELIBERATE ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT FROM THE MATERIAL
  14. 14. BE PURPOSEFUL ASK YOURSELF:  “What is the author trying to say?”  “What is motivating the exploration of this topic?”  “What does this research contribute?”  “What academic conversations is the author trying to align with?”  “What are the main arguments of this piece?”  “How does this relate to my other readings?”
  15. 15. 4. APPLY A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE SITUATING INFORMATION IN BROADER CONTEXTS
  16. 16. APPLY A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE A Critical Perspective traces and names flows of POWER.  “Who has power and who does not?”  “Who benefits from particular social arrangements, and whom do they marginalize?” Critical perspectives QUESTION assumptions and values implicit in arguments.  “What are the values underlying this work?”  “What experiences and perspectives do these values privilege?”  “How might centering different values or experiences re-frame the argument or conversation?”
  17. 17. NOAM CHOMSKY, UNDERSTANDING POWER: THE INDISPENSABLE CHOMSKY and that's a tricky business to know how to do well, but clearly it requires that whatever it is you're looking at has to somehow catch people's interest and make them want to think, and make them want to pursue and explore.” “Real education is about getting people involved in thinking for themselves-
  18. 18. Leckie, Gloria J. "Desperately Seeking Citations: Uncovering Faculty Assumptions about the Undergraduate Research." Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol. 22, no. 3, May 1996, p. 201. EBSCOhost. Rose-Wiles, Lisa M. and Melissa A. Hofmann. "Still Desperately Seeking Citations: Undergraduate Research in the Age of Web-Scale Discovery." Journal of Library Administration, vol. 53, no. 2-3, Feb. 2013, pp. 147-166. EBSCOhost. Sweeney, Miriam E. “How to Read Like a Graduate Student.” Feminist Research in Critical Information Studies, 20 June 2012, miriamsweeney.net/2012/06/20/readforgradschool/. References

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