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Critical Reading: An Essential Step

Critical Reading: An Essential Step in this Project

Rather than hitting the databases and collecting a bunch of articles that may or not be related, start your search by finding a single, very relevant article. Practice critical reading habits and then follow the steps below to collect the 5 research articles you will use in your annotated bibliography for the Dynamic Critical Research Portfolio Project.

Critical Reading: Requires attention, requires practice:
  • Read with a purpose and read with focus.
  • Connect what you're reading with what you already know or what you are learning in this class.
  • Read to reflect.
  • Ask yourself throughout: "How will I use this information to build on the information?"
  • Recognize your place in the scholarly conversation: What is the relationship between you and the scholars who produced what you are reading?
While reading, ask the following:
  • What is this about and why was it written?
  • Who wrote it? (Evaluate authority)
  • How did they conduct their research?
  • So what? Why do I care?
  • How does this information connect with other literature I have encountered? How does it connect to me, my life, my future professional life?
Get started:
  • Use the databases listed in the box below to perform an online keyword search strategy based on the "Consideration Chart" of your assignment.
  • Perform your search and spend time carefully reviewing your results.  After considering the titles and reading the abstracts, select ONE article that you feel is the best result from the list.  (Or change your search strategy until you find a single article that seems like a good match).
  • Skim the full text of the article to confirm that it is a good starting point for your topic.
  • Print out the full text of the article.  (The whole thing, including the references)
  • Read the entire article once, asking yourself the questions above.
  • Read the article again, and annotate it.  Use a highlighter or colored pens if you like.  Write down or highlight things like the following:
    • Questions that come up in your mind as you read
    • Keywords and subject headings that are addressed in the article
    • Vocabulary: look up unfamiliar terms and write their definitions in the margins
    • Gaps in the research: What's missing that you would find helpful to your understanding of the topic?
    • Problems you see with the research as presented
    • Ideas for follow-up
    • Practical ideas you like
  • Craft a new online keyword search strategy incorporating what you learned from this article.
  • Review the references to locate related articles that might help fill gaps, answer questions, further develop the topic for you.
  • Finally, perform a new search strategy to find related articles or relevant cited articles to include in your annotated bibliography.
  • Repeat these steps with your remaining retrieved articles.

Write you annotations for your annotated bibliography:

  • Wait until you have read each of the articles critically and made your annotations and notes.
  • Think about how each of your articles relate to each other.
  • Write each annotation with all required details which may include: authority, intended audience, comparison to other articles in your bibliography, and how the article illuminated the topic.

Education Databases

Searching Multiple Education Databases

Citing Your Sources

Helpful guides to citation styles:

Annotated Bibliography Resources

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