How to Read Critically
(The following was drawn from notes on a lecture by one of my professors, during
one of the class meetings of Juvenile Justice. So, in case you've been struggling
to read research articles and respond to them in a critical fashion, see below.
I took Juvenile Justice Fall 2010. Sorry for the delay.)
In order to read critically, you must do two things:
1) Read for fact: an understanding of theories and their evidence
2) Read for implication: now what?
Typically, a research article is designed in the following way:
1) ASK: presents the problem and its background
2) CRITIQUE: critiques the previous theories surrounding the problem
3) TELL: presents a new theory about the problem
4) SHOW: ties in evidence to support the new theory
5) IMAGINE: imagines the "now what?" and explains implications for the future
In reading critically and finding the format of the research article as you read,
there are a few key things to remember to look for:
- A shift in words signifies the article's claims (however, but, therefore, given,
thus, etc). Take note of such claims and the supporting evidence that surrounds them.
- Notice previous claims or theories you recognize and evaluate the connections that
are made by the article.
- Concrete words signify confident statements or claims (given, thus, therefore, etc;
NOT possibly, may, tend, etc).
- Take note of section headings and find thesis statements and key words for each
- As you read, develop one-sentence summaries of main points that are presented (or
mark one-sentence summaries that are already written within the article).
- Pay extra attention to the first and last paragraphs of sections, as the paragraphs
that lie between are primarily supporting information.
- Nearing the end of the article, look for words that alert you of the summary (in
short, in summary, in conclusion, etc).
My Summer Do-List
I've been in the midst of unpacking, repacking, cleaning, and organizing since I got
home from school on May 15, left again on May 18, and came home again on May 22.
Since May 22, I've mostly been sleeping, as well as working, and completing the verbs
previously listed. In addition, I wrote up a list to keep myself on task. The list is
currently incomplete, as I know some things slipped my mind, but it's a good start.
To be operationalized (and S.M.A.R.T.), goals must be written down.
(in no particular order, much to the chagrin of my OCD tendencies...)
- read. a lot. The Uglies Series(x3), This is Your Brain on Music, Full Dark No Stars, etc.
- bookmooch. get rid of those books in the corner.
- school portfolio.
- t-shirt rag rug.
- write. Metamorphosis. Teacher. Semester reflect blog. Journal.
- pick a grad school.
- GRE on Aug 1.
And, for immediate action, sleep.