Maybe they are books, emails, or Google ads, but we all read. Reading is consumption and we should mind what and how we consume. Starting my seventh and the last term as a psychology student at Harvard, I reflect on what the encountered chapters, authors, and researchers taught me about ‘good reading’.
Time is often the best translator of difficult chapters – Some chapters are vibrant and take the breath away until 4 am. Some require time to understand. However, one should not shy away from investing the time as complicated chapters often unveil valuable findings.
Never stop seeking your own advice – Critical thinking is essential to not only derive valuable results but also to see the purpose of the presented data. Asking “why”, assessing the context and source, and choosing thinking over knowing support our objectivity.
Re-read to know more – Rereading the same chapter produces new insights because the reader is a different person. My professor of neuroscience often says: “Re-search, means to search again, and this is how science moves forward.”
Criticize but do not blame – Some chapters or research papers become constitutional by their brilliance. Some do not meet the expected standards. Yet, in research, we are taught to write ‘a critique’, not ‘a blame’. It stands that our words represent us, not others.
Good reading does not mean that we like or agree with all chapters we are required to read. But there is a responsibility to seek to understand to then be understood. The principle of finding the meaning in the required chapters, adding chapters of own choice, and making steps worthwhile of it all seems to apply. And perhaps not only in academia…
Industrial-Organizational Psychology scholar at Harvard University (in extension studies)