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Reading widely on a topic will help you write a better essay. Try to find a balance between reading enough to understand the topic and reading too widely and becoming overloaded and confused by too much information.
The Academic Study Skills website has a guide to effective reading strategies. These include:
These pages also offer advice on how to read more critically, to help you develop active reading skills and gain a deeper understanding of the material you read as well as tips for effective reading at university.
Active reading means reading critically so as to gain a deeper understanding of what you are reading. It involves reading in depth and actively questioning what you read. Active reading requires concentration, so find a place where you can read and focus.
Some tips for active reading include:
The Academic Skills and Support website provides more detailed information on active reading
Your reading strategy should include the awareness that as well as reading to understand a topic, you are also aiming to present an academic argument of your own, based on your examination of a range of views from a variety of sources. This is called synthesis.
The ability to synthesise information is an important part of your reading, helping you to develop your point of view on a topic. This helps you to demonstrate your learning and to present your viewpoint in written work.
Learn more about reading strategies on Dr Sarah Elaine Eaton's blog Literacy, Languages and Leadership