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
Making your reading useful
Networked Cranfield > AIM Research > Key Topics > Productive reading
 

A characteristic of expert management researchers is that they are able, somehow, to keep up with the ever-expanding array of literature relating to their research interests. Their accumulated experience means that they have plenty of background knowledge of this literature, and of the major debates and theories in the field. But they are also likely to have developed productive reading habits so that they make efficient use of the limited time they have for reading. This key topic is designed to assist you with becoming a more productive reader in your academic studies.. 

You can expect to spend a lot of time reading academic literature. There is so much out there that is relevant to any management area, and it is so easy to download texts from the internet, that there is a danger of becoming overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of material. You cannot afford to let this happen to you, because academic reading is not an end in itself. You will be assessed on what you write afterwards, informed by your reading – not on how much time you spent getting the reading done. Therefore, it is vital that you both read enough appropriate literature and keep enough time in hand for the writing to follow..

Productive reading means more than just reading! It means knowing how to make insightful choices about what to invest time in reading, and how thoroughly to read each text. In order to be in a good position to choose, it means being clear what your reading purpose is, what kinds of texts are likely to help you achieve this purpose, and how to find the texts you need. Once you have chosen your texts, reading productively means using a range of strategies for reading in summary or in depth, for selectively reading just the most relevant parts of a text, and for capturing the content you will need for your subsequent written work.

In this key topic, you are encouraged to distinguish between different forms of text and choose which form best fits your reading purpose, to scrutinise your present reading habits, and explore ways of making the time you invest in reading more productive.