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ARTS 140 Social Change and Social Development; ARTS 130: Social Justice and Social Development: Reading and note taking

This guide is created to help you with your assignments in finding academic and newspaper sources.

Reading Effectively and Efficiently

Learning to read an academic article or book is different than reading a novel from front to back and is a skill to practice. The module linked below provides practical examples of reading academic materials

Additional Resources for Note Taking

Reading and Note Taking

IMRAD Format Worksheet

Reading Journal Articles

To effectively read AND understand a journal article, you will need to read it three times as follows:

1. Skim the source to get an overview of the material and use a strategy like the IMRAD Format to assess the content in the article.

2. Read the article backwards, section by section, beginning with the conclusion. This read is to check and see if the conclusions make sense given the methods and core questions to be addressed, and if the research is supported by the literature review.

3. Read the article one final time from beginning to end and take detailed notes.

Be selective about what your read – there is no need to read all of each and every work your choose. Decide what is essential and leave the rest.

Manage your energy—active reading can be tiring. Give yourself breaks between chapters or articles.

Paul N. Edwards has written a useful guide to active academic reading called “How to Read”. 

Taking Notes

  • Record citation information as you go.
  • Take active, in-depth notes on your high-priority sources
  • Write down your own ideas about the work your are reading
  • Summarize key points in your own words
  • Highlight very important quotes, terms, or ideas
  • If you’re taking notes on a separate piece of paper or document always put quotation marks around direct quotes. Record what page the quote is from in case you want to include it in your paper or revisit that passage.
  • Write down any connections you are making, key words or authors you have discovered, and which of your arguments the source supports.