you pick up a book and
- is there an abstract in front? (not often in books)
- view the TOC (= structure ?, main topics)
- view the bibliography (worth it?)
- read the introduction (link with structure?)
- read the conclusion
- which parts do I want to read?
- for what purpose?
- when should I schedule that reading?
If you want to read parts of a monography, or in full: prepare a reading note (cfr. infra)
- Ko, Mika. Japanese Cinema and Otherness: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness. 1st Edition. London ; New York: Routledge, 2010.
- Flow: LIMO advanced search -- Zotero -- Evernote
- next step: skim (example)
reading = search
- reading is basically a form of 'search'
- reading is as complex an activity as writing
- deep web
- filter bubble
- use search engines efficiently (alternative search engines)
- search in the future
- get acquainted with the different types of databases, do not limit yourself to meta-databases
- interactive reading + effective note taking
- reading types / levels
- exploratory: inspectional, prereading, skimming
- analytical: chewing and digesting
- comparative (synoptical)
- purpose: to determine whether the book is a candidate for analytical reading
- skill: can read at different speeds, and can decide when which speed is applicable
- this is the kind of reading you do at the start of your research and whenever you come across a new source
- extract basic info:
- view title page and foreword, subtitles, put it in the appropriate category (make subdivision in advance)
- skim intro (and conclusion)
- what is the main idea
- what kind of knowledge does the author want to pass on?
- study table of contents like a map
- check the index, so you can estimate which topics are covered
- read the publisher's bulb
- look at the central chapters and read the introductory sections
- flip through, read a paragraph here and there, especially the last pages
- does the book contain information that you would like to explore further?
- do you want to read it?
analytical reading, deep reading
- link with OPO Close Reading
“The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations these words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas.”
- Carr, Nicholas. 2008. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, August 2008. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/.
Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self. “We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.”
Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.
- “Whither the Digital Humanities?” 2016. Hybrid Pedagogy. March 8, 2016. http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/hybridped/whither-the-dh/.
In The Citation Project, Sandra Jamieson and Rebecca Moore Howard examine citation practices in papers written in introductory writing courses. In their essay “Sentence-Mining: Uncovering the Amount of Reading and Writing Comprehension in College Writers’ Researched Writing,” the research data set includes papers from 174 students from 16 colleges across the U.S., which contain 17,600 written lines or 800 pages, 930 sources, and 1,911 references.
Its key finding is worth noting: “The majority, 46 percent of the students’ 1,911 citations, come from page 1 of the source.”
At first glance, these figures may cause dismay; however, this dismay can be qualified: students are consulting sources and not making up things out of thin air; by reading pages one, two, three, and four, and not much beyond, they are probably picking up the central ideas or arguments of the source text in the first few pages. And it makes sense: usually, these pages have keywords, abstracts, theses, forecasting statements.
But what cannot be glossed over is that they are reading on the prowl, looking eagerly for specific things to use; they want to find a polished idea, a gem of a thought, a ready made argument, a neatly framed issue, a syntactically effective sentence, a stylistically rendered idea. In short, a utilitarian approach shapes reading on the prowl: search, find, use. What they don’t seem to be doing is “radial reading”.
- Kleinfeld, Elizabeth. n.d. “Students & Digital Sources.” Accessed March 14, 2016. http://www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/ethics_special_issue/Kleinfeld/students-and-digital-sources.html.
- the sources the students used were usually very short, 49% had five pages or less
- 96% of references worked with only two or fewer sentences from the source
analytical reading phase 1
- classify the book by type and subject
- briefly formulate what it is about
- list the most important parts
- name the problems the author wants to solve
analytical reading Phase 2
- find the most important concepts
- mark the most important sentences
- find the basic argument
- what problems has the author been able to solve?
- Complete the reading sheet
compare sources, synoptical reading
- skim all resources on your list first
- then determine which ones should be read at what speed and to which part of your project they belong
- most important point is that in this type of reading the books serve your interest, you read them for your project
- analyze the discussion
You do not collect sources, you collect notes.
- if necessary: review the zotero section on the digital toolkit site
- single note (Mullen, Lincoln. 2011. “Taking Better Notes in Zotero.” The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: ProfHacker (blog). October 10, 2011. https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/taking-better-notes-in-zotero/36561.)
- organize your notes with tags
- pdfs: toc and highlights via zotfile plugin
The perfect reading note
What's in it
- bibliographic info
- paraphrase (main idea): paraphrase your source while reading it is better than copying it
- copying is actually a form of laziness, postponing thinking
- allows you to mix your ideas with those of the source
- the reading noe is not only a record of a source, but also why that source is important for your research
- it is already a step in writing a draft; actually you already start writing
- what kind of book is it
- what is the structural order of the book (toc)
- which theory / methodology is used
- used primary sources?
- record discussed topics
- meta: related, labels, category
- what to use for (part of your toc)
- analysis and commentary
- useful quotes: make a clear distinction in your file between verbatim copies and your own notes (avoid plagiarism)
With a useful set of citable notes, you can insert the "particulars, concretes and details" to support the "generalizations, abstractions and theories" of your dissertation.
(Single, Peg Boyle, and Richard M. Reis. 2009. Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text. 9.1.2009 edition. Sterling, Va: Stylus Publishing. p79)
When do you write that
- stand-alone (id, snippets)
- reading cards
- notes linked to reading cards
- after first skim or immediately?
- highlight, encode, annotate, scan, tag