English 102

Skimming Sources

If you’ve been doing the homework up to now, you should have at least nine sources already identified that relate to your research topic. As you work on your paper you’ll add more sources and remove some from your list. But you’ve already got a great start on your research. Now it’s time to move into the next phase.

This is where you begin looking a little more closely at your sources. You’ve looked at their titles and evaluated them using the Scholarly Sources Checklist. You have probably read the abstract as well, to identify the thesis, and maybe the first paragraph or two.

Now you’ll start skimming the sources to get a little more information out of them and decide if they’re going to be ones you’ll use in your final research paper. To skim an article, do the following:

To skim a book, do the following:

As you skim, take notes. Notes are essential for remembering what you read and where you read it, and for avoiding plagiarism. Here are a few pointers for taking effective research notes:

As you find more sources, be sure to skim them. Take notes as you skim. Even a quick phrase to remind you of the key point will be extremely useful later on. This will keep you caught up on your reading so you don’t have to scramble at the end to absorb a lot of information at once.