Questions Do you have any questions about academic reading?
Reading and research are major components of academic work You will probably be required to do both set reading and independent research as part of your workload
Tips for set reading Read with purpose: to learn, gain knowledge, understand the subject better Think about how the reading relates to the course in general and that week in particular Look up terms you don’t know, and do extra reading to assist you where necessary
Tips for independent research Use set reading as a guideline for the type, quality, and standard of research required Look in the bibliographies and reference lists of your set readings for texts that might be useful
Use the UniSA library, library catalogue and databases to help you in your researchlibrary catalogue databases If using the internet, use Google Scholar to narrow your search to academic sourcesGoogle Scholar Be careful when using dot com sites; focus on edu, org, and gov sites instead. Also be careful when using Wikipedia
There’s no magic number for how much reading to do or how much attention to give certain texts: it depends on assignment type, word count, availability of resources
Selecting good resources How do you know a source is credible and can be trusted? Book Textbook Newspaper article Journal article Report Online document Graphic/Table/Illustration Websites Check that your text is worth reading at all. This especially applies to random websites
The ‘80/20 principle’ In most reading assignments, 80% of what you need to know is in about 20% of the material So you usually only need to skim read 80% of the document and carefully read the relevant 20% The purpose for your reading will dictate how much of the text you have to carefully read Tips for academic reading
Finding information quickly Scanning by key words and phrases Skimming by paragraphs Don’t read every word Don’t start reading at the beginning of your book or article and keep reading till the end hoping you will find some useful material
Be very clear about: The context – university study The purpose- assignment, research paper, thesis, seminar paper The kind of text – book, website, journal article, conference proceedings The best strategy – skim, scan, locate relevant section and then read in depth Tips for academic reading
Scan Before you read, SCAN the text, for the – Title, headings, subheadings – Captions under pictures, charts, etc. – Introduction and conclusion – Summary or abstract To see if it is relevant to your purpose Radar
Skim Read the first line of each paragraph or use the word find function in Microsoft Word to see if the content is relevant Identify the sections you need to read in detail and take note of these
Purpose Your purpose will change as you work through your research tasks – When you first receive an assignment or task – When you start to answer the assignment question – As your ideas start to change – When you decide you need to read different texts to fill in any gaps in your understanding
REVIEW your reading Never finish an article without doing some form of oral and written review Examples: – Short summary – Major headings – Sentence indicating how the article answers the question
Keep a record of your reading Take down the bibliographic details of every item you read that is useful, whether you use it or not Use bibliographic software to manage your research. Endnote and Refworks http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/research/
Steps to being a critical reader Critical reading involves making judgments about the value of what you are reading You need to carefully assess what you read and evaluate it Ask yourself whether the information you are reading is useful for your assignment
Compare Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Global Warming Hoax Which is better? Why?
Steps to being a critical reader Ask yourself the following questions : 1. What is this document about? 2.Is it accurate? How do you know? 3.Who wrote it? Is the writer an authority in this field? 4.Is the writer trying to persuade you of a particular position? 5.Is this argument based on a broad or narrow view of the issue? 6.What evidence is offered to support the argument?
Steps to being a critical reader 7. What would a totally opposite point of view look like? 8. Do you agree/disagree with the position presented by the writer? 9. How did you come to this view? 10. What do other writers have to say about this topic? 11. Does this text add anything ‘new’ to the topic? 12. Is this document useful for your present research?
Exercise Using the scanning and skimming techniques discussed in this session, look at the following article and make some notes on the article’s content
Discussion What are your impressions of the article? How useful was the scanning and skimming approach? In what circumstances would the SQR2 technique be inappropriate?
Finally... Think about your reading style and habits – what do you need to change to cope with university study? Read for content, purpose and understanding. Think strategically! Be selective! Read carefully and summarise as you go! Never waste an opportunity to read and learn new things Become a critical reader