Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reading Backwards

Langstraat, Carina

Bernier, A. (2011). On Reading Academic Literature (Strategically). [Lecture]. Retrieved from
San Jose State University INFO 285-14 Canvas site

Bernier’s article tells you how to absorb vast amounts of information as quickly as possible.  It is geared toward how to accomplish this when doing research, but is applicable to life at large.  It's approach is basic and straightforward in nature.  No one is assuming I already know all this just because I am in information school.  His approach boils down to reading the conclusion of an article first and then the introduction.  When doing research, this allows you to quickly decide if the article is worth pursuing.  Seems obvious but this approach has been a game changer for me.
The Bernier article on how to read academic literature is one of the best pieces of information I’ve read since I’ve been at SJSU.  When I started this program, reading strategically wasn’t as much a choice on my part, but a survival skill.  In my first semester, I wanted to immerse myself, get as much as I could out of the program, etc.  But with the amount of assigned reading combined with necessary research reading, it quickly became apparent that reading, as Bernier says, in a “once upon a time” fashion, wasn’t going to work.  What Bernier’s article has done for me is to relieve me of the guilt of strategic reading, instead emboldening me to enhance those skills.  For example, I’ve always read the abstract, the introduction, and then the conclusion in order to decide if the article was a keeper.  Doing it the other way around makes more sense because it’s a more direct route to the author’s punch line.

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