University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Campus maps | Newsroom | What's on

Critical reading

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:

  • Before reading

    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?
  • While reading

    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?
  • After reading

    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.

More information

click to open and closeExternal online resources