In reading an academic text, you need to develop a personal, yet academic and rational response to the text through:
developing an understanding of the content, and
evaluating and critiquing the text
Reading critically involves:
Be clear why you are reading the text:
- How is it relevant?
- Who is the writer? What do you know about him/her?
- What is the topic? What do you know about it?
- Who is it written for?
- Why do you think the text was written?
Take an active stance – ask questions and relate the text to your own experience and other readings:
- How is the material presented?
- Whose point of view is presented?
- Who are the main actors in the text?
- How are they presented?
- Is a particular bias or framework present?
- Is evidence/argument presented convincingly?
- Is the language emotive or logical?
- Do you agree or disagree with the author? Why?
- How does this text compare with others you have read on the topic?
- Does it refer to those texts?
Go through your notes – highlight the main ideas and add new ideas as they occur:
- What is the main idea of the text?
- What are the secondary or supporting ideas in the text?
- How does the text relate to your subject/assignment?
- What are the wider implications for you? For the discipline?
- What other ways are there of writing about this topic?
- What other perspectives could you take on this topic?
Adapted from the following source:
Forman, R. n.d., Note-making and critical thinking, UTS: ELSSA Centre, Sydney.
UniLearning, UOW - Critical reading (opens an external site)