Efficient Reading

To read efficiently is to adjust how you read to what you read. Before you open the book or begin the article, you should be able to say what you need to know from it. The key to efficient reading is flexibility; adapt the way you approach a particular text, considering it in relation to your working thesis, research questions, and outline if you have begun to develop it.

By determining and maintaining a clear purpose while you read, you should be able to avoid collecting too many notes, which you will end up not using or which will lead you off course.


At this point, you do not have to read each source in its entirety. Rather, survey each source. Look at the title, the table of contents, the introduction, and the conclusion. Try to arrive at an understanding of the thesis in each article or book. Prioritize your reading: you may wish to read key texts or important authors first, to read general works before specific works, to read newer texts before older ones, or to read texts grouped by a particular argument. You should also decide how to read each text; for detailed understanding or general understanding.


Back to Reading and Notetaking