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Interrogating the text

Reading critically means interrogating the text. To do this, we need to:

  • read with intention or purpose
  • use questions to stay on task
  • consider the relevance of the text in terms of topic focus, author credibility, currency, and perspective
  • make notes with citations
  • summarise the text
  • synthesise key points from the text.

Resources that unpack this idea of interrogating text include:


“Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham; www.phdcomics.com

To interrogate the text, we need to engage in noticing elements in texts. The following noticing activities will help you to:

  • familiarise yourself with articles in peer reviewed journals
  • become a better reader and writer.

Activity 1: Journal article analysis

Find a journal article that is likely to be relevant to your reserch topic and complete this noticing activity:

1.  Notice how the article is structured at the macro level: headings and sub-headings, tables, and images or diagrams.

2.  What does this tell you about the type of journal article? A journal article can be:

an empirical article (a report of research completed; these are the most common articles)

a review paper (a review of the literature around a topic)

a theoretical paper (analysis of current theory or new theoretical proposals in order to advance theoretical understanding)

a methodological paper (analysis of new methodological approaches or proposed modifications of current approaches)

3.  Identify the sequence of ideas in each section and paragraph.

4.  Start to predict what will come next.

Activity 2: Thesis analysis

  1. Read the steps to effective thesis analysis in Text analysis: Noticing
  2. Find relevant theses in RMIT University’s research repository. Notice how they are structured.
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