Information Literacy Module VI: Preparing to Use Information Effectively

Reading sounds like a simple task, but it’s important that you get the most out of your research reading. Skimming is fine when you’re trying to figure out whether a source has the type of information you’re looking for, but once you’re ready to learn from a source, it’s time to slow down and read to understand. To do so, try something called “active reading”: have a conversation with the information. What strikes you as interesting or new? What surprises you? What do you doubt? What questions does this new information lead you to ask?

Time-saving tip: As you read, make note of page and paragraph numbers of especially intriguing information; if you’re using your own personal copy of a source (like a printout or photocopy), highlight or put a star by these passages so they’re easy to find. Don’t stop now to take notes; wait until after you’ve read the entire source carefully. You can go back later and decide which passages are truly going to be useful to you.
The more you engage with the information, the better you’ll understand it, the closer it will lead you to more valuable information, and the better you’ll be able to use it with authority and confidence.
Guiding Your Research
Now it’s time to do your own active reading! To get into the groove of having a conversation with the information, record all of the questions, comments, and observations you make while reading your first source. Write them out or use a voice recorder so you can share your experience with your instructor.


Go to Previous Page Go to Information Literacy Home Page Go to Next Page