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DISCUSSION 2 : While You Read: Strategis for Close Reading

Understanding a work that is challenging requires a close readingone in which we

make decisions about what the text means as we read it, keep track of the authors
ideas and points, and connect these new ideas with what we already know. Marking
up the text while we read facilitates this process. Here are some suggested marks for
things you should look for while you are reading (but you should try to think of your

Tabel 6

While You Read: Strategis for Close Reading

Look for .... Mark it with....

The main question or issue in each aim / objective / main
chapter or section
Fundamental concepts and their highlighting / underlining
explanations or descriptions
Important conclusions. (You may use 3* / --> / X
more than one to rank the importance)
Unclear or confusing parts, faulty logic Q/?
Supporting data or information used as evidence
Supporting data or information used as View point / VP
Problematic assumptions being made Problematic/ prob
Greater implications of the argument or implication

What does it mean to intepret a text critically?

It means being a discerning reader who:

questions what you read

thinks about what the author wants you to believe and works to convince you
decides whether the authors views are worthy of agreement
Asking questions about what you read requires your careful examination of the writers
claims, as well as the use and quality of the writers supporting evidence. As you
interpret the text, you inevitably draw upon your own experiences, as well as your
knowledge of other texts. However, the basis of your analysis must be rooted in the
text itself.

Here are some things to consider in your analysis:

the authority of the writer : Using both the information that you have about the
writer as a person (training, political affiliation, life experiences), as well as clues
from the language, tone and approach of the text, decide whether the writer is
credible. Is the writer knowledgeable? What biases or values may be playing a
role in his/her argument?
the logic of the writers argument : It is important to ask yourself what the writer
wants you to believe and whether the reasons and supporting evidence convince
you of this viewpoint. Examine the credibility of the facts as well as the line of
reasoning that ties the facts to the main assertion.
how the writer gets your interest : A writer may use one or more of the following
strategies to get the reader intellectually and emotionally involved in the text:
1. Trying to get the reader to identify with the author or evoke respect for the
authority of the author (for example, through the tone)
2. Trying to get the reader to care about a subject, cause or problem (perhaps
by appealing to his/her emotions by using shocking statistics, anecdotes, or
detailed descriptions)
3. Trying to get the reader to align him/herself with a greater class of readers
(e.g. the educated, women, environmentalists)
4. Using the assumed interests and values of the reader as a foundation for
another argument

Ask yourself which of these techniques the writer is using and how. Are they effective?

consider the writers use of language and style :The writer makes many decisions
concerning language and style that serve to influence your responses as a
reader. Examine the following aspects of the writing: overall tone, sentence
formation, choice and connotation of words, use of punctuation, and brevity or
length of passages. How do the writers choices about language and style aid
their argument? What do these choices reveal about the writers argument?
consider the ideology that informs the text : Try to uncover the ideology -- the
system of beliefs, values, and ideas about the world -- that underlies the text. A
simple way to do this is to write down words and ideas that are valued in the text
or represented by the author in a positive way. Then write down the opposite of
each word. These binaries, or pairs of opposites, will reveal the ideology that
informs the text.

After reading the article, answer these questions to help you to reflect upon and
analyze what you have read:
1. After reading the article, answer these questions to help you to reflect upon and
analyze what you have read.
2. List and explain the reasons the author provides for his/her main argument.
3. What kind of evidence is presented to support the authors argument? Is it fact
or opinion? What is the source of the informationdoes it come from an
informed authority in the field?
4. What is the purpose and tone of the article?
5. . Is the author objective or does he/she try to convince the reader to have a
certain opinion? If so, what viewpoint does the author try to convince you of?
What reasons does the author provide for choosing this viewpoint?
6. Does the authors argument assume that the reader thinks in a particular way
or has a particular world-view? What are the major underlying assumptions that
the author makes, and do you think they are reasonable and acceptable to
most people?
7. Does the author make jumps or inferences based on his/her evidence? Is the
line of reasoning logical?
8. Does the author try to appeal to the readers emotions? Does the author use
any loaded words in the headline or the article? List these words and explain
their effect on the reader.
9. Forgetting what the author thinks for a moment, what are your own thoughts
and opinions about the issues raised in the article?
Example of Critical Reading Analysis
(Source )

Excerpt 1 (from an academic journal)

The aim of the study was to describe how
patients perceive involvement in decisions
concerning their own treatment and nursing
Is the methodology valid care.
here? Critical readers would
question whether the sample
size was big enough to fulfil A convenience sample of 12 patients was
the aim of this study. They selected from three mixed-sex medical wards.
would also question whether The only criterion for inclusion in the study was
the sample was a willingness to participate.
representative enough of the
wider population, asthe
criterion for inclusion in the
population sample perhaps
created an unrepresentative
group. The personality type
that is willing to participate
in a study of this kind may
suggest subjects that are
already highly involved in
patient participation, thus
skewing the survey results.

Excerpt 2 (from an academic journal)

Each interview was tape recorded and took
between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.
Has the author After each interview, the tape was listened
overgeneralised the results to and transcribed. During this period,
hunches or working hypotheses were
The author has used the
findings from a very small identified which were explored in
sample size, that may not subsequent interviews. The major theme of
represent a sufficient range 'toeing the line' was identified that provides
of patients, to support a insight into how patients view
major line of argument about 'collaboration'. The remainder of this paper
how patients view will focus on an exploration of this theme and
collaboration. The authors its significant implications for nursing.
are inferring that the results
gained from surveying these
patients can be generalised to
all patients.

Excerpt 3 (from an academic journal)

The idea in this first sentence
The value systems of individuals and of
in a Nursing article is most societies can be said to have dominant
probably informed by temporal focuses. Societies in which hospital
research in Sociology or sickness and other disasters are seen as
visited upon the individual by angry gods,
Where is the reference?
spirits, or ancestors hold a dominant temporal
focus on the past. Societies in which causes
Are these the author's ideas and consequences are disregarded in favour of
presented as fact? The writer immediate gratification and symptom hold a
here is writing as if his or her present temporal focus. Societies that show
interpretation were considerable anxiety about the implications
absolutely the truth, instead and consequences of present situations, to
of just an interpretation. experience little anxiety relief at the removal of
a symptom, and need to plan and work toward
future eventualities hold a future temporal
Excerpt 4 (from a weekend newspaper article)
What evidence does the Teams are not magic. They must have
author provide to support his tasks that are achievable within a specified
or her argument? time frame. The team charged with
'management' has an impossible brief and
will surely fail unless effort is spent
spelling out what the management task
involves and what constitutes success.

Neither are teams a cheap option. They

Is there evidence provided inevitably consume resources and time.
supporting this? Teams rarely resolve conflict. More often, they
pressure-cook it.
Would you accept this as
fact? Why? If an individual has the skills to do the job with
the requisite creativity, then the individual, not
Is this the author's opinion or
fact? the team, should do the job.

Excerpt 5 (from a weekend newspaper article)

A third illusion is that leaders are not
Who says leadership is back necessary in good teams. Leadership is back
in fashion? in fashion. But people in teams often argue
that good teamwork makes leadership
redundant. Explicit or strong leadership
Is this assumed knowledge behaviour is seen as contrary to the notional
within the discipline of
equality of teams.
This illusion and the lack of leadership it
produces is one of the worst things that can
happen to a team. It ensures an obsession
with internal power relations and a team
This point is stated as fact. without a champion. A leader is the team's link
What theory is it based with the wider organisation and the vital
on? conduit for resources, support and credibility.
Do you agree with it? Teams need help to understand how their
leadership requirements change and how to
make the most of the leadership resources
distributed among members.

Retrieved 6 January 2016