In her first sections of the semester, Nicole Deterding discusses with her students how to read a sociology article. For the first week, students are supposed to have done some reading. As a class, they put a concept map up of the argument on the board. In the process of doing this, it becomes clear that nobody understood the entire theory, but that, as a class, they can map the complete argument.
This then kicks off a discussion of reading strategies. Nicole asks the students what they did when they approached the reading, and in response, the students share their approaches and experiences with reading social science texts. During this conversation, Nicole guides them into realizing that sometimes they get to the end and they are just highlighting and reading too closely. She emphasizes that if they can draw a concept map of the theory, then they probably understand the argument. She gives them a helpful handout that includes some of the conclusions of this discussion and more. It serves as a short, straightforward guide to reading sociology that will help students throughout the semester.
Nicole's helpful reading handout is attached below.