Rus Articles Journal

Strategy of critical reading

do not believe everything about what you read in newspapers, books, magazines or the Internet. Many people so never also learn this lesson. They mistakenly believe that if something it has to be published, so by true. In reality even the honest, acting from the best motives authors make mistakes. Imperfection is inherent in all people without exception.

are real

of the Consequence of incorrect informing because of the printing word. People daily affect the health, make harmful investment or professional decisions or harm themselves the fact that noncritical perceive read. The best means to be protected from such failures is to develop a habit of critical reading.

we Will consider four-stage strategy of reading:

to see
  1. .
  2. to think.
  3. to read
  4. .
  5. to estimate
  6. .

we Will consider each step in turn.

Step 1: To see

to See - means to look at some sections of the book or article to gain about it general idea. On average viewing has to take 15 - 20 minutes for the book and 5 - 10 minutes for article. Executed effectively, viewing not only will make your reading easier and effective, but also will reduce unpleasant work of repeated reading all work or its part.

Viewing has to answer with

the following questions: About what controversial issue the author writes? What author`s position on this question? What main sections (sub-themes) of this book or article? Whether many the facts the author in support of the point of view offers? Type what facts?

If it is the book, check the preface and introduction to find the purpose formulated by the author and the main message; a table of contents to see breakdown on sections and their sequence; the beginning and the end of one - two heads to learn whether the author gives preliminary reviews or generalizations (if they are, see them for each chapter); and notes and/or the bibliography to see, this book and what types of sources is how well documented the author used. If time allows, check all final chapter to learn what the author offers judgments and/or recommendations. Sometimes the final chapter briefly will generalize the main argument stated in the book.

For articles see introduction, headings of sections, the first paragraph in each section and conclusions.

Step 2: To think

In this case reflection means check of own views, but not views of the author. Wonder: what ideas I have about this subject which can create bias in favor of the author`s point of view or against it and will prevent me to judge it fairly?

Bias can be shown by

in two ways. The most obvious way is properly to consider the matter, to consider opposite views and to decide that the facts support one views better, than others. Eventually, the purpose of thinking is formation of conclusions. But whether it is fair to judge the text of the given author on the basis of our previous conclusions about the text of some other author in advance? No. The author whom we read now can have the convincing new facts or can find a mistake in our thinking. The only way of which we can be sure is to put aside for rather long time our preliminary conclusion and to read impartially.

Other way by what bias can be shown, is less noticeable - is so less noticeable that we, in fact, can not know about it even. Each of us has many ideas which we did not form independently, ideas which got into our mind when we did not pay a close attention to them. Ideas which were stated by our parents and teachers when we grew, the statements made by people on current - show or characters in movies, commercials, and all our daily perceptions, impressions, presentiments and assumptions belong to such ideas. Many of these ideas, undoubtedly, disappear, but some - especially popular ideas which we hear again and again, - are hardy and can influence our thinking. These often repeated ideas become so familiar and convenient that we are inclined to protect them though we never estimated them and which for this reason actually do not belong to us. As this type of bias both unconscious, and irrational, it can represent more serious problem, than more obvious type of bias.

the reflection Purpose - to learn about these two types of bias to control them in the course of performance of the following steps.

Step 3: To read

If your viewing was effective, this step will be rather easy. You already know what is told by the author; you also understand sequence of author`s ideas, a look and quantity of the offered facts. Now your task - to deepen and specify the understanding. Attentively read all work, at one go, if it is possible. Have near at hand the handle or a pencil to emphasize the most important offers. Try to be limited to underlining of one offer on several paragraphs. Where it is necessary, add the questions and reflections on fields.

If it is book or long article, quite good thought - to summarize

(to generalize) read. To make it, re-read offers which you noted as important. Think how many offers you will be able to unite, without changing author`s sense. Then write the abstract in the finished offers as it is possible closer adhering to original formulations and an original order of a statement to avoid distortions. Then briefly retell by the own words the facts offered by the author. Do not try to concretize the facts as it was done by the author, otherwise your abstract will become too long to bring some benefit.

If your making an abstract was effective, you have to have a reduced version of original work answering to its contents but much easier for the analysis. In such a way the whole book can be consolidated to several paragraphs; full article - to 7 - 8 offers, and even it is less. But when you summarize, you remember danger of distortions and simplifications. It not only is unfair, but also it is senseless - to criticize the author for what he did not tell.

Step 4: To estimate

Begin to read the abstract attentively to grasp the main ideas of the author and the facts which he offers for each of them. Then answer the following questions. (Note. Some questions will demand that you rechecked work, and not just its abstract. In such cases the abstract will help you to define in what chapter or in what section to glance.) Is not present