Your own original ideas and arguments are fine. However they are not enough. College writing also suggests deep research and thoughtful reading. Here you can’t do without books and academic articles.
The endless list of recommended literature on your topic may drive you crazy. Stress on the word, “recommended”, it does not imply you are to read every source from cover to cover.
The academic articles are full of fascinating, vivid and innovative ideas and materials. They will stimulate your thinking and wake up your fantasy. Though you should never present them as you own, give credit to their original author and save yourself from being accused of plagiarism.
You can facilitate your reading process with a helpful formula of “SQ3R”: Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review.
Survey – find the relevant sources of information. When you evaluate this or that book or article, pay attention to: date of publication (you are not writing memoirs), contents and index page; preface, first and last paragraphs. Such approach will help you to choose the right sources among the wide variety of available resources.
Question- before starting to read, ask yourself what you expect to find out from this book( article). It will systematize your reading as you proceed.
Read – The purpose of your reading is to find the vivid and powerful arguments to support your idea in the shortest possible time. Using the following reading techniques you will get the most of the book you have read:
Skimming the contents you get its general idea.
Scanning allows you find the material you need.
Doing search reading you concentrate on the meaning of the specific terms.
Perusing the text you should jot down the pieces of information to use in your essay.
Reading may turn out to be a tiring and monotonous pastime for you. To refresh your mind take regular breaks off. Your reading should be conscious. It is no use reading a thick volume in a day if you can’t remember what it is about. Make sure you understand every idea presented in the book (article).