So I’m reading a white paper about keeping a business executive’s attention when they read your white papers (click here to read the article)… and I notice that the authors break reading down into three “layers.”
- The Skimming Layer: In less than 1 minute, reader skims page by page to see if reading the paper will be a valuable investment of their time. Graphics and layout can play an important role in inspiring readers to stay with it.
- Preliminary Reading: In 15-30 minutes, readers get more details about the author’s points.
- Comprehensive Reading & Recommendations: Actually reading the entire document and using it to make recommendations for your business.
Though this is, of course, over simplified, I find that I do follow this kind of approach to reading when I’m working on a larger, self-designed (usually end-of-term) project. It allows me to quickly rule-out irrelevant articles and focus on the ones that offer the most support for my approach, methodology, or idea.
However, when I’m reading on a weekly basis for grad seminars, I jump directly to the third layer: comprehensive reading. Although comprehensive, it is draining and tends to make me feel like I’ve taken a beating afterward. What about you? How you read as a graduate student? Do you, like me, feel guilty when you don’t get to the third layer of reading? How do you “use” these kinds of layers (or approaches)?