Analytical reading

Students often have a hard time learning to read academic studies.  They tend to get lost in the background information and miss the main argument.  I created the handouts below to accompany lectures on analytical reading for a class that I was part of as a teaching assistant (the handouts aren’t strong enough to use as stand-alone educational tools).


In-class activities:

  • Article summary table
  • Identifying causal studies In this case, students were asked to analyze a causal study of their own choice, but were having trouble finding them.  I used this short activity to test their ability to recognize causal studies and immediately clarify areas of confusion.  I displayed the handout listed above (“Distinguishing between descriptive, interpretive, and causal arguments”) on the overhead projector for them to refer to as they worked.  When they were done, I had them diagram the argument of the first abstract listed as another way to familiarize themselves with arguments and how they are put together.
  • Matching research studies to research questions


Diagramming an argument in class.