Reading, reading techniques, excerpts

Information about reading techniques and excerpts for scientific papers (essays, monographs etc.)

Can you read? Maybe not. You probably think about what you could cook later while reading. Or your eyes keep jumping to the beginning of a sentence because they did not understand it. Or you underline half books in the belief that they have now read and understood them.

What is your reading energy? Can you do it, ten pages of offline text, a scientific essay about to read and understand in one go? What about twenty pages?

Learn to read. It is indispensable for a successful study.

You need a reading atmosphere. For instance, a place where you always retire to read, a corner in your favorite room, a permanent place in the library of your choice. You need calm for effective reading, peace and atmosphere.


How do you capture the relevance of this Book 2.0 for yourself and your work? The author has relieved you a lot. He has designed a table of contents that gives you a rough overview of the structure of this book. He works with subheadings that quickly tell you the approximate contents of the paragraphs they include. He works with bold keywords that help you to scan the text for relevant passages. A good non-fiction book also has an index that lists keywords and links to the pages that contain these keywords. Over the course of your student career, you’ll be dealing with long lists of keywords, as well as long lists of words in dictionaries. You need to be able to quickly find the term you want. That requires high concentration.

Not only marketing professionals know that a viewer’s line of sight typically moves from top left to bottom right. You usually scan a piece of paper on which you seek information. You scan it quickly for keywords that you think should be relevant to you. You do not read the words letter by letter, but recognize them with patterns.

Practice reading by reading a book and browsing page by page for a specific keyword.

Read fast

Cross-reading should give you a first rough overview of the literature, find out if the literature is relevant enough to be processed in your diploma thesis or master’s thesis. You must also be able to read and understand a book completely.

You will have to read a lot of literature during your studies. Good reading technology helps you to read efficiently. The term fast reading or speedreading is somewhat misleading. It’s about reading at a profit.

As a normal reader, you read about at a speed of 250 words per minute. Usually you also vocalize the concepts internally, so you are talking about what you are reading. However, certain reading techniques can easily bring you to twice the reading speed, with the same or even greater understanding of the text.

Some techniques require the training of the eye muscles, which should make it possible to jump with the eye faster from the left to the right edge of a line. It should also be practiced to record a line with as few views as possible. In fact, you include familiar words and phrases as a whole. You can take advantage of that. But you also stop listening to what you read in your head at a certain reading speed. Train your visualization skills. The more plastic the idea of ​​what you read in your head, the better the readings will stay in your memory.

But most important for effective reading is your ability to concentrate. Do concentration exercises daily, preferably before and after reading, solve math equations in your head, play sudoko, whatever helps you to strengthen your concentration muscle.


For students it has become a kind of sporting matter to color texts with markers. The result is yellow or orange or green glowing leaves whose words and sentences are harder to read than before. This habit is as terrible as trying to write down every single word a lecturer. Out of sheer excitement about writing down all thoughts, the student completely forgets to understand the thoughts and – perhaps more importantly – the personality of the lecturer, the context of the thoughts. Erich Fromm criticizes it in his very readable book “Haben oder Sein” (2000: 38), where he writes:

  • Students who are oriented toward the existence of having a habit listen to a lecture by listening to the words, grasp their logical context and meaning, and write everything in their notebook as completely as possible, so that later they can memorize their notes and one Take the exam. But the content does not become part of their own world of thought, it enriches and does not extend it.

Of course, it can be useful to excerpt books and essays. But in the first place, let the content enrich you.

You do not have to mark entire sentences. Often it is enough to staple single words or sentences with lead pencil in order to quickly find them later when leafing through. Or make notes on the edge according to a scheme of your own accord. You could use exclamation points for important thoughts, question marks for unclear places, etc. Write keywords to the edge.

But please do not mark half the text, just so you feel like you’ve read it. They should not just read it, they should understand it. To understand Goethe’s value, it is not enough to extract the content, to excerpt it. You have to read it several times while you are constantly dealing with the circumstances of the epoch.

Especially with more extensive theses, it may of course be useful to create an index card system with quotes and references, small summaries. But for the important literature, the sources, that should be less necessary because you know them so well that the most important thing is in your head.