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Critical Thinking and Evaluating Information

The important thing is to never stop questioning Albert Einstein

How To Read Critically by Doug Specht

In the following video Doug Specht, Senior Lecturer at the Westminster School of Media and Communication, presents steps for critical reading:

  1. Question
  2. Evaluate
  3. Locate the text in the discipline

We are often told that we need to read more critically... but what does this really mean? I this video we look at some key questions you can ask while reading that will help you be more critical.

Video Source: Doug Specht.

See more from the University of Westminster Here

Use The SQ3R Reading Method

The SQ3R Reading Method that can greatly help with reading comprehension, especially if you are reading material that is dense or difficult. While it is helpful to go through the method step-by-step, feel free to use what works best for you.


Skim the material to get an idea of what the topic, ideas, and points are. When you are surveying, look out for:

  • Introductions, conclusions, indexes, and synopses
  • Headings and subheadings and footnotes
  • Pictures, charts, drawings (anything visual)
  • Anything in bold, italics, or underline
  • The first sentence in paragraphs


Ask yourself questions about what you are reading. Ask yourself things such as:

  • What is this material about?
  • What question is the material attempting to answer?
  • What can I do with this information? How does this help me?

Search through your source to find the answers to the questions that you created. Things to keep in mind while reading are:

  • The first sentence of a paragraph usually has its main idea
  • If the material is your own private copy, make notes in the margins and highlight key points. If not, use a notebook to jot down ideas


After you have finished reading, paraphrase the ideas and core concepts of the material in your own words, either verbally or in a notebook. Do not write or read the concepts verbatim. The goal of this step is to establish your own understanding of the material and apply it to your learning journey. This step should be done quickly after reading.


It is important to review material frequently to retain it successfully. Reviewing often also alleviates test anxiety and stress. 

Read More On The SQ3R Method:

How To Read A Book

Visual book notes: How to Read a Book by Sacha Chua

Infographic Source: Sasha Chua 

The above infographic was created by Sasha Chua and is a synopsis of How To Read A Book. 

Check out the original source for yourself from CPTC Library Services!

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