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Reading Strategies

This set of blog posts is intended to help undergraduate students, graduate students, and academics of all stripes find the best approach for them to read the ever-growing heaps of material. I’ve also collated here a couple of posts on time management.

Legitimising reading as an integral part of the academic writing process.

I’ve always been of the thought that you can’t just produce words without actually reading other authors’ work and then synthesize from their ideas, and generate new ones. In this blog post, I argue that we should take reading into account in our writing time and consider it valid to spend time reading, as this is as important as writing.

Writing a synthetic note off a book or book chapter

While this blog post is also connected to my Literature Review ones, this one describes a process that is specific to how to read and take notes. So I’ll include it here and in my Note-Taking Techniques section too.

Carving time to read: The AIC and Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump combination.

For me, it is very important that I carve time to read. For that reason, I have to make sure that I read at least one paper every single day. This process (AIC + Excel dump row entry) allows me to maintain my finger on the pulse of the literature and know when I need to come back to a paper later when I have more time.

A three-step method to capture the most important information in a paper (The AIC content abstraction technique)

While this post doesn’t cover reading in detail methodological sections or discussions, the three step method (AIC, Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion) gives at the very least the gist of a paper, journal article or book chapter. It can be expanded for a full book as well.

Reading Strategies for Entire Books (Single Author/Multiple Authors)

In this post I summarize my strategy to read an entire book, be it by a single author or multiple authors. As I noted in my post, while we could apply a similar strategy to AIC, it’s not necessarily applicable in the same way. However, the basic principle stands: introduction, conclusion, key chapters.

An Updated Version of my Colour-Coding for Highlighting and Scribbling Marginalia
This post is an updated description of the colours I use and what each one means when I highlight and scribble on the margins of articles, book chapters and other printouts.

Reading, highlighting, annotating, scribbling, note-taking: A walk-through my digital and analog systems.

In this post, I integrate my entire digital and analog workflow on how to take notes and read.

Reading Strategies For Full Books (Edited Volumes)

This post should help readers find ways to evaluate which chapters are most important to them, and then strategically read those chapters.

Different reading strategies I: Skimming and scribbling (and cross-linking)

This post summarizes a technique I use when I am short on time. I apply the AIC three step method and then I briefly read the paper over, looking for some key points within the paper. I always do scribble notes to myself on the margins, or write them in adhesive Post-It notes that I attach to the margins (in the case of books and printed journal volumes).

Different reading strategies II – Meso-level engagement

When I’m a little less pressed for time, I scan a paper for 2-3 relevant ideas per page. This post explains how I use this technique to create a summary of the manuscript.

Different reading strategies III – Deep engagement.

This post describes a three-pronged strategy I use to engage deeply with the literature. It requires more time investment, but it also generates written material that can be directly used in writing a paper.

8 strategies to make time to read during a teaching semester

It’s always hard to keep up with reading (ironic, since our profession is focused on learning from reading too!), but here are 8 strategies I use to make the time. Because if we don’t *make the time* our schedule will be fully focused on other things.

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