ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Productive reading
Why spend time and effort reading a particular text?
Distinguishing between support and ‘front-line’ literature
How can you identify fit-for-purpose support texts to read in full or selectively?
Advance check: suitable support literature for your identified reading purpose
How can you identify fit-for-purpose front-line texts to read in summary or in depth?
Advance check: suitable front-line literature for your identified reading purpose
Scrutinising the efficiency of your academic reading habits
How efficient are you as a reader in your academic studies?
Reading strategies: scanning, skimming and intensive reading
Taking risks with your reading time and effort
Making the most of your reading time and effort: towards an effective compromise
Scanning a short text for specific information
Skimming long texts
Writing effectively
Arguing convincingly
Mapping your field
Literature reviewing
Reviewing the literature systematically
Developing proposals
Diagnosing how efficient you are as a reader in your academic studies 


Given the huge and expanding range of texts on management research and the ease of identifying and obtaining texts to read, you will probably find it impossible to read everything that could turn out to be relevant to your reading purpose. Yet experienced researchers somehow manage to read enough to keep up with new developments in the academic discourse of their specialist area of enquiry. They are likely to have learned very efficient academic reading habits as a result of repeated experience of having to read more than they really have time for. Have confidence that you have already developed some efficient reading skills. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this text now! But you may be able to do more to develop your habit of efficient reading so that the time you invest is more productive.

If English is not your first language, you may be well aware that you have a double learning task when you are reading: learning to understand English as you go along as well as learning about unfamiliar management topics. But you can draw on the skills you have already learned for efficient reading in your first language and apply them to your reading in English. 

What are your present academic reading habits?

Read each of the statements in the form, taking them in order from 1 to 10. As you go along, tick any statements that closely apply to your habitual way of reading texts in your academic studies.

When I read any academic text, I tend to:

Tick

 

 

1.   read the whole text carefully from beginning to end, to understand everything that the authors are writing about.

 

 

2.   read the whole text carefully from beginning to end, and as I go along, mark the text or make notes on every point that the authors are making.

 

 

3.   read the whole text carefully from beginning to end, and afterwards write notes on the main points the authors are making.

 

 

4.   read the whole text carefully from beginning to end, then I re-read it, this time marking the text or making notes on the main points that the authors are making.

 

 

5.   check what the text is about (by looking for clues such as keywords in the title and any abstract), then I read the whole text carefully, either marking the text or making notes as I go along, or making notes afterwards on the main points that are relevant to my reading purpose.

 

 

6.   check what the text is about, if it looks relevant to my reading purpose I double-check by reading the introduction and the conclusion, then if it is relevant I read the whole text carefully, either marking the text or making notes as I go along, or making notes afterwards on the main points that are relevant.

 

 

7.   check what the text is about, if it looks relevant to my reading purpose I double-check by reading parts of the text - maybe the introduction, section or chapter headings, first or last sentences in paragraphs, and the conclusion. Then if it is relevant I go to other parts of the text most likely to contain the information I want (such as the account of a conceptual framework). I read them carefully, either marking the text or making notes as I go along, or making notes afterwards on the main points that are relevant.

 

 

8.   check what the text is about, if it looks relevant to my reading purpose I double-check, then I dip into any other parts of the text that I find interesting. I make notes afterwards on anything that seems relevant.

 

 

9.   check what the text is about, if it looks interesting I double-check, then I dip into any other parts of the text that I find interesting. Afterwards I think about what might be worth remembering.

 

 

10. check what the text is about, if it looks interesting I dip into any part of it. Afterwards I remember anything that particularly interested me at the time.

 

 

Total number of ticks

 

 

 If none of these statements closely apply, or you also have another habitual approach, write down here a summary of this habitual way of reading texts in your academic studies.

The more ticks you had, the more your habitual approach to tackling a text varies from one occasion to another. The fewer ticks you had, the more you adopt a consistent approach when tackling each new text. But how productive is your varied or consistent approach?

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