Step 1: Find a list of possible sources
Option 1: Find them in your reading
While reading, take a note of the sources you might want to read.
After you have finished, find them in the reference list of the article
Option 2: Use a search engine
(link) (has most but not all articles)
(link) university "Kiyo", variable quality)
(link) (British Dissertations)
(link) articles, for background)
(link) reports about nuclear weapons)
(link) reports about ????.)
Search properly, or you will get thousands of useless articles
"" (EXACT) "English test" - (NOT) "English test" -toeic
Option 3: Work backwards
- Find an important source - the classic source everyone uses.
- Search for it in Google Scholar
- Click "Cited by"
Option 4: Find a reading list on the topic prepared by a teacher
List here: (link)
Option 5: Browse the top journals in your topic
List Here: (link)
Step 2: Access the sources
Accessing article PDFs
- To download academic PDFs, you must be AT UNIVERSITY (no access at home unles you have a VPN)
- Always search using Google Scholar. It will find free copies on other websites.
- Read the abstract first. Only download and read references that are useful for you.
- Check your own library: (link)
- Download a sample chapter from Google Books or Amazon Kindle
- Find copies in nearby libraries (some let visitors borrow): (link)
Step 3: Narrow down your list
Step 5: Download it as a PDF or print it on paper
- It's easier to read and take notes on a PDF (not html or docx)
- If the original article is removed from the internet you still have it
Step 6: Before you read, think!
- What do you already know?
- What questions do you expect this reading/lecture will answer?
Step 7: Skim it
- Skim the section headings and table/figure titles
- Skim the discussion - what is the conclusion?
Step 8: Read it once carefully with a highlighter (pen or electronic).
- Highlight important keywords, points, and quotes.
- Decide on a system.
- My system is to:
- Highlight important parts
- Write "*" next to very important parts
- Write "Hmm" next to bad ideas or methods
- Write comments in the margins
- Underline words I look up and write the translation in the margin
Step 9: Choose a way to keep notes.
You can write (a notebook or index cards), type into text files or Word files or use software that helps manage references (try Mendeley - (link) or Zotero (link) Each has advantages - writing is eaier, but if you type you can a) search, b) copy-paste references and notes, c) backup everything (e.g. using Dropbox) d) read them on your phone and e) use automatic outlines to help you keep organised. We will practice several types using "Practice Reports"
Step 10: Read the article again, and take notes.
- Don't copy long chunks. Summarize.
- Don't write sentences. Use note English to write faster
- If you copy a section, use quote marks, so you don't forget and plagiarize later.
- Always write the page number, especially for quotes
- Con't copy tables or photos. Just write "See page X for y".
Step 11: THINK as you read, and write any ideas before you forget
- Your ideas
- Mark your ideas clearly (I use "MP"), so they don't get mixed with your notes.
- Try to do this at the end of each section, or during the boring bits of lectures.
- other things you read which agree / disagree
- experiences you had which make you agree/disagree
- the conclusions are not supported (other reasons for the results they got)
- the method of getting data was bad
- results/conclusion is probably only true for this particular group/country
- too many emotional appeals, not enough research
- References to things you should read next for your project
- Things you should you do something differently after reading this source
- Methods you could use in your project
- Things you want to know/research for your project that are not in this source
Step 12: Write a one-sentence summary
"According to CITE, in a METHOD study of SUBJECTS, RESULT"
e.g. "According to Smith (1999) in a questionnaire study of 440 Norwegian English majors in the 2nd year of a compulsory English program, 49% of students did not believe in Santa."
Do this well enough, and you can just copy it into your essay later.
Step 13: Carefully write the APA reference for this source
See use APA format in reference lists
Step 14: Add any useful references/links to your list to read next
See Step 1
Step 15: Take notes on the English
Take a note of useful English words/phrases you can use
Step 16: Share with others
(in class, next week)
Step 17: Occasionally, review your notes.
If you can't remember and understand, read it again. Maybe try SQ3R or "Cornell".
Step 18: Take notes on gaps in research and methods
If you are reading for your dissertation, you also are reading to find out what the author DOES NOT know (this might be a good topic for your dissertation), and to find out METHODS for doing your own research.