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Before you start, consider the following:
- Do you have a clear and concise understanding of the topic?
- What is the scope of the literature to be investigated?
- Are there limits or exclusions to your research eg. time frames, published or unpublished works, language?
- Is your review going to be a chronological or thematic approach? Sort ideas into relevant categories.
- Keep your purpose in mind while reading. Don't be swayed by arguments or let points of view distract you.
Critical reading strategies:
Critical reading involves evaluating the point of view, argument/s and evidence presented by the author.
Common questions to ask when evaluating literature are:
- Do I agree or disagree with the authors claims?
- What evidence do I have for agreeing or disagreeing?
- Is there an alternative argument or evidence being presented?
- What methodology did the author use?
- Was data collected and what were the results?
- How can you apply these findings to your own work?
Example: Critical Reading Strategies: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/critical-reading.html
Critical reading of web based material
Unlike journal articles and scholarly books, most information that is on the web has not been peer-reviewed. Therefore it is very important to read any information that appears on the web critically and objectively.
Evaluate all information found:
- Authority – who wrote it?
- Accuracy – is it well researched? Is it fact or opinion?
- Reliability – is it an accredited artist or association?
- Validity – is it a credible source?
- Bias – is the author affiliated with and organisation? Your own bias?
- Timeliness – how current is the information? Is there a need to add or update the information
- Illustrations – are photographs, art works, charts, maps etc. used relevant, clear and professional-looking?
There are many methods available for taking notes. Whichever method ensure you:
- Make your notes clear and legible
- Make notes comparing your ideas and the ideas of other authors
- Keep note of page numbers and referencing details so you can refer back to them if needed
- Compare and contrast the views of other authors
- Show connections between your topic and the literature written
- Make note of gaps in research
Example: Note taking systems: http://www.sas.calpoly.edu/asc/ssl/notetakingsystems.html