Scholarly sources are "peer-reviewed" essays and articles that use new research findings and theoretical tools to contribute to ongoing conversations within and across various disciplines.
As you read (and reread) your scholarly sources, try to answer the following questions.
1. What problem/question is the author posing?
2. What kind of knowledge, methods, and archives does the author use in order to address that problem/question?
3. What is the author's argument?
4. How might other scholars assess this article?
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Use the following questions to help guide your reading of what are sometimes complicated arguments; even when the argument seems straightforward, these questions can help to get at the different nuances in the language and rhetorical style. This in an important step in helping to clarify just what the argument is about, what position the author takes, how this position engages in a larger debate, and why this position and the debate in general are significant. Equally important is the attention you give to your own position on the topic. As you respond to these questions, think about what kinds of assumptions you bring to the argument and what kinds of questions you are left with. Your response to the argument should be guided as much by your understanding of its content and structure, as by your own engagement with the issues and problems it raises in relation to your own understanding of the topic.
1. What question is posed by the author?
5. Counter arguments
Critical Readings Questions were created by Becky Reed, former Director of the UW Bothell Writing Center
Screenshot taken from "How to Read a Book 5.0" PDF by Paul N. Edwards.
A good reading strategy is to imagine your book or article as an hourglass, with general information at the beginning and end, and increasingly detailed and specific information nearer the middle. You can start by reading the introduction and the conclusion, to get the big picture, and then work your way toward the middle to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.