Conducting research is the most important aspect of your coursework, as it will form the foundation of your argument. To be able to conduct your research effectively, you must be able to read efficiently and take useful notes. This article offers a brief guide to help you.
Make a Plan
Before you start reading, make a plan for your coursework so you know exactly what to read. This will stop you wasting time by reading irrelevant material. One of the keys to effective reading is to know what to look for. Search your university library for good quality books and journals and use keywords in your library’s database to search for material relating to your topic. Follow your plan so that you stay focused and don’t digress away from your coursework topic.
Don’t Waste Reading Time
Once you have found a book related to your topic, you then need to read this book efficiently and quickly to find relevant material. It will not be productive to read the whole book cover to cover!
There are a variety of tactics you can take to read effectively, these include skimming, scanning and intensive reading.
Skimming involves reading a chunk of text very briefly, perhaps on the first and last sentence of each paragraph and a couple of key words in the middle.
Scanning involves running your eye (or finger) over the page looking for any words or phrases related to what you are looking for. Once you have found a word or phrase, you then stop, slow down and read intensively that part of the text.
Be an Active Note-taker
Don’t be a passive note-taker; this includes underlining key words and copying out large chunks of text. Instead, take an active approach. Write your notes in two columns, the first for important points/quotes from a book, and the second for your comments/reactions/questions to these points.
Also, try to paraphrase quotations into your own words. This will help you to process and understanding the material.
Always remember to note down the bibliographic information – including page numbers – for all of the notes you take down. This will make it easier for you to reference the material when it comes to writing your coursework.
Remember, trying to pass someone’s ideas as your own is plagiarism, even if you do it without meaning to. Plagiarism has serious consequences and could result in you getting no marks for your coursework.
Ivory Research has great expertise in many styles of academic writing. They help students in all aspects of writing for a variety of assignments from essays to coursework.