How to extract the maximum amount of information
To obtain the greatest possible benefit from reading the numerous scientific texts and articles, it is important to do so actively. This is mainly possible through separate notes, summaries or direct annotations in the text.
Benefits of active reading
- Saves time to study a subject in more detail
- Improves the understanding of the subject
- Allows for better memorization of the material
How to practice active reading
- Before beginning to read a text, review the table of contents to get an idea of the topics it covers.
- Reading the preface and conclusion will help you grasp the author's main message and make connections to the material and key concepts you have covered in class.
- Highlight important passages and graphics by underlining, annotating, or using the post-it technique.
- Question yourself regularly and use the 5-W method (who, what, when, how, why).
Summarizing an article
- Remember to reference the texts by numbering them or by creating a bibliography. This way you will know where to find the information you are looking for, especially if you have to read several texts as part of a course or term paper.
- Be sure to note the author and title of the article/book/text, as well as the subtitles, so the summary is structured similarly to the article. Note the key ideas by summarizing them as much as possible.
- Try to find the main argument of the text or research question to make sure you understand all of it.
- For more tips, see the chapter on summaries.
If you prefer to take notes directly in the text, use the margins to annotate the most important topics and keywords. You can also highlight directly in the text using a color code (e.g., blue for specific vocabulary, pink for the proper name to remember, etc.). This way you can quickly find the information when you need it.
To make sure that you have correctly understood the text you have read, try explaining it to someone. This will help you determine if the structure is clear and help you identify what information you remember and which you have forgotten.
Also, ask yourself why this paper is valuable in the context of the course. If your teacher selected it, it is likely to be relevant and will help you supplement the content of the course. Therefore, try to make a connection between the article and the course.
The predisposition and conditions under which you read a text are crucial.
- Eliminate any form of distraction.
- Conduct active reading in a well-lit place.
- Be focused and disciplined
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