Thursday, September 16, 2010

First steps in speed reading

I'm naturally a slow reader, a very slow reader even. When I read a book, I create an entire universe in which I can visualize the characters. I can imagine how they look like, how they act amongst eachother (outside of the story of the book), how they are dressed, what their voices sound like...
However, having this habit of slow reading isn't helping when there are piles and piles of papers waiting to be read. I've been reading around the internet about speed reading, selective reading, skimming and more of those fashionable terms, and I decided to give it a try. As for now, I'm very positive about my results.

At the moment, I have a folder of papers on my desk which basically gives background to my research. It is not exactly about my topic, but I need to know more about the general background and the application of my research. So I've decided to read all of these papers, and try to read them fast.

My first attempts have been based on this method:
1. Read the abstract.
2. Read the introduction.
3. Skim through the text, paying special attention to graphs and (sub)titles.
4. Write down a few keywords.
5. Go to the conclusions.

These actions I perform in one wave of concentration, and afterwards I "relax" by putting the reference into my system to manage references (Endnote, in my case) and by adding the relevant information to the "scope" chapter of my literature review.

I've only been using this method for a few days now, and I will write about my progress.

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