Skimming and Scanning

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Skimming and scanning are reading techniques that use rapid eye bowel movement and keywords to move promptly through text for slenderly different purposes. Skimming is reading quickly in regulate to get a general overview of the substantial. Scanning is reading quickly in decree to find specific facts. While skimming tells you what cosmopolitan data is within a section, scanning help you locate a particular fact. Skimming is like snorkeling, and scanning is more like drop diving .
Use skim in previewing ( reading before you read ), reviewing ( reading after you read ), determining the main mind from a long selection you do n’t wish to read, or when trying to find source material for a research newspaper .
Use scanning in research to find particular facts, to study fact-heavy topics, and to answer questions requiring factual support.

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Skimming to save time
Skimming can save you hours of arduous interpretation. however, it is not always the most appropriate way to read. It is very utilitarian as a preview to a more detail read or when reviewing a survival heavy in contented. But when you skim, you may miss important points or overlook the fine shadings of entail, for which rapid read or possibly even study read may be necessary .
Use skimming to overview your casebook chapters or to review for a test. Use skimming to decide if you need to read something at all, for example during the preliminary research for a paper. Skimming can tell you enough about the general mind and tone of the material, equally well as its arrant similarity or difference from other sources, to know if you need to read it at all .
To skim, prepare yourself to move quickly through the pages. You will not read every password ; you will pay especial attention to typographic cues-headings, boldface and italic type, indent, bulleted and number lists. You will be alert for key words and phrases, the names of people and places, dates, nouns, and unfamiliar words. In general follow these steps :

  1. Read the table of contents or chapter overview to learn the main divisions of ideas.
  2. Glance through the main headings in each chapter just to see a word or two. Read the headings of charts and tables.
  3. Read the entire introductory paragraph and then the first and last sentence only of each following paragraph. For each paragraph, read only the first few words of each sentence or to locate the main idea.
  4. Stop and quickly read the sentences containing keywords indicated in boldface or italics.
  5. When you think you have found something significant, stop to read the entire sentence to make sure. Then go on the same way. Resist the temptation to stop to read details you don’t need.
  6. Read chapter summaries when provided.
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If you can not complete all the steps above, compromise : read only the chapter overviews and summaries, for exemplar, or the summaries and all the boldface keywords. When you skim, you take a account risk that you may miss something. For example, the main ideas of paragraphs are not always found in the first or last sentences ( although in many textbooks they are ). Ideas you miss you may pick up in a chapter overview or summary .
good skimmers do not skim everything at the same rate or give equal attention to everything. While skimming is constantly faster than your normal understand accelerate, you should slow down in the comply situations :

  • When you skim introductory and concluding paragraphs
  • When you skim topic sentences
  • When you find an unfamiliar word
  • When the material is very complicated

Scanning for research and study
Scanning, excessively, uses keywords and organizational cues. But while the goal of skim is a bird’s-eye view of the material, the goal of scan is to locate and swoop down on particular facts .
Facts may be buried within long textbook passages that have relatively little else to do with your subject or claim. Skim this fabric first to decide if it is likely to contain the facts you need. Do n’t forget to scan tables of contents, summaries, indexes, headings, and typographic cues. To make sense of lists and tables, skim them foremost to understand how they are organized : alphabetic, chronological, or most-to-least, for example. If after skimming you decide the material will be utilitarian, go ahead and scan :

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  1. Know what you’re looking for. Decide on a few key words or phrases–search terms, if you will. You will be a flesh-and-blood search engine.
  2. Look for only one keyword at a time. If you use multiple keywords, do multiple scans.
  3. Let your eyes float rapidly down the page until you find the word or phrase you want.
  4. When your eye catches one of your keywords, read the surrounding material carefully.

Scanning to answer questions
If you are scanning for facts to answer a specific question, one step is already done for you : the motion itself supplies the keywords. Follow these steps :

  1. Read each question completely before starting to scan. Choose your keywords from the question itself.
  2. Look for answers to only one question at a time. Scan separately for each question.
  3. When you locate a keyword, read the surrounding text carefully to see if it is relevant.
  4. Re-read the question to determine if the answer you found answers this question.
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Scanning is a technique that requires concentration and can be amazingly tiring. You may have to rehearse at not allowing your attention to wander. Choose a time and seat that you know works for you and dive in .

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