Humanities

Studying for a Degree: In the Humanities and Social Sciences by Patrick Dunleavy (auth.)

By Patrick Dunleavy (auth.)

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Equally you can chase up materials in case you have missed something important, only to find that the elusive source duplicates what you have already read. Sometimes only vague titles are used to demarcate topics (especially in reading lists for lecture series). This format is guaranteed to protract the search for information, since you must guess the questions you are supposed to be asking as well as finding out the answers. Unless you have a specific question to respond to, you can have no guarantee that the next item of reading might not introduce some new question not previously encountered.

Studying Textbooks: Active Reading Normally reading is quite a passive activity. For example, if you are tackling a good novel you will start at page I and carry on to the end in a single sequence set entirely by the author. Because your role as a reader is minimal, this style of reading is very inappropriate for complex educational materials at degree level, even if you are certain that your source is a core text which you must systematically understand. If you take a great many notes as you go along, you may become more actively engaged with the material, rather than just scanning and trying to understand page after page.

The less you acquire a stockpile of personal study materials in this way, the more important it is to make notes of what you read. (b) Can you realistically get access to these materials again? You are unlikely ever to re-read most books or articles which you use in libraries, because of the initial difficulties in finding the source, and the pressure to move on to other topics. Similarly you normally cannot rerun lectures (or broadcasts) if you missed parts of what was said. Taping lectures simply postpones a solution.

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