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Reading Efficiently|Reading Critically|Acknowledgments

Academic texts are relatively formal in structure and style. They might be textbooks or just straightforward texts such as William's (1981) book "Culture". To increase the amount of information that you can extract from a single reading of a section, chapter or article in an academic text, you need to use efficient academic reading strategies. Efficient academic reading strategies. These are based on the structure of academic writing. For instance, you should begin by:

bullet reading the introduction to search for the thesis point or main argument in the introduction and to verify the overview provided by the contents page; and
bullet scanning by topic sentences, ie. the sentence which makes the point of the paragraph and which is usually the first sentence of the paragraph.

Thesis Point

The role of the introduction is to background to the topic and to put forward the writer's thesis point (or main argument). This thesis point can often be found towards the end of the introduction. The thesis point is usually reiterated in the conclusion as well, so to gain a good idea of the argument being put forward and the main evidence being presented you should read both the introduction and the conclusion. This will give you a framework for reading the rest of the content .

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Topic Sentence

Once you have understood what is being argued, you need to start filling in the big picture by getting an idea of how the writer is advancing that thesis point. You can do this by looking at the way paragraphs and topic sentences are used in the text. Topic sentences play a role in advancing the argument in an organised and logical way. Remember that topic sentences indicate the point being made within a paragraph; all other sentences in the paragraph expand, explain or provide evidence for that point. They usually occur as the first sentence in the paragraph, although they often also occur as the last sentence, particularly in science writing, and they can occasionally occur in some other position.

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Acknowledgments Reading Critically Reading Efficiently