Reading for academic purposes requires a different skill to reading for pleasure or entertainment. Magazine writers, authors and website creators will use engaging writing styles to ensure they capture the attention and interest of as many readers as possible. When writing is of a scholarly nature, content in the article is the main focus, and the writing style less important, thus making the reading experience sometimes less interesting and more challenging to retain what has been have read.
Below are a few ideas to help develop academic reading techniques that will assist in your responding to your Functional Nutrition Course assessments.
To gain an overall picture of an article, first scan it. Read the preface or abstract, if it doesn’t have an abstract then read the introduction. It could also be useful to run your eyes over a table of contents if there is one. Reading the conclusion of an article can also be helpful, as it provides a summary as well as helps you to determine if it is relevant or not for you, before committing to reading the whole article.
Ask yourself the following questions:-
- What sort of data does the article contain?
- What kind of research did the author/s undertake?
- What was the purpose of this research?
- Who do the authors work for?
- Is it relevant to and appropriate to your own research purpose?
Check that the data in the article has been referenced (citations). Has the author referenced/used a variety of sources (other contributors) in the article? If needed, he reference list will also provide you with a a list of further reading on the topic.
By getting into the habit of jotting down the key concepts – either in dot points or short sentences, it will help you to retain the information you have just read. It will also help you to organise your research and response to the task that’s been set.
By recording all citations as you progress through your course, it will enable you to keep track of the relevant information you have read and learnt. This way you will be prepared to cite any articles you use in your response to the questions in the course.
When reading for academic study you need to be more critical of the information your find. Not all information will be suitable and you will need to evaluate what is relevant and what isn’t.
To understand how to evaluate information from journals, magazines or other resources, watch this useful video created by JCU Library.
Assessor Functional Nutrition Academy
Teacher Education Queensland