Active reading requires: selecting the most appropriate sources (no brainless reading of everything that is available) that can be linked to the issue at hand and making a selection of what you want to know, which is aided by your identification of structures and argumentation in the read material.
Even if you have to read for an exam – which basically implies that you cannot select the literature yourself – active reading is a prerequisite for effective studying. Active reading is always accompanied by writing at the same time, either as notes for the exam, or directly as input for the paper you are writing (never read only to read), after which you evaluate what have read, and come to the choice of further sources.
This requires that you be prepared to go through the reflective cycle of lifelong learning, and that you always take into account five phases:
- Selecting the right reading material
- Identify/structure the arguments in your readings
- Choose the most relevant reading technique
- Choose the right combination of reading and writing
- Assess the usability of other available skill techniques