As a university student you’ll need to read extensively to understand your subject and to complete your assessments. Do you need help with developing a systematic approach to reading and note taking? If so, follow these guidelines for developing effecting reading and note-taking strategies.
Firstly, decide on your purpose for reading. This could include:
Knowing the purpose of your reading will also help you decide how much detail is required, and the amount of time you should devote to each task. It will also determine the reading strategies you employ.
Let’s look at these reading strategies in more detail:
Skimming is a quick initial reading to establish usefulness or to get an overview of the main ideas, content and purpose. Skim read the different sections of a journal article (title, author, abstract, introduction, conclusion and headings) to decide if the article looks relevant.
Scanning is reading to find specific information, or key words. Scanning allows you to locate relevant sections of a text and read only as much as you need to find specific information.
Reading for detail involves a number of steps:
Reading Critically means carefully evaluating the author’s intention and the evidence and ideas used to convince the reader, rather than just accepting everything you read.
For more information about reading critically, see the page for ‘Analysing and thinking critically’.
Download and complete the ‘Evaluating a journal article worksheet’ for each journal that you read.
The next question to ask yourself is “How can I make the most of my reading by taking effective notes?”
Taking well-organised notes can help you to stay focussed while reading and gives you a clear record of what you’ve read. Some general tips include:
The first video provides you with some other note taking techniques e.g. the Cornell System, linear note taking and mind mapping.