Steps in Doing a Close Reading

When you are writing an essay, a coursework or a custom UK dissertation, you can best begin by doing a close reading. You can even apply this to other writing tasks outside academics. To do close reading, you will observe the text or a subject, noting some facts and details about it.

Close reading can be done on:

1. texts
2. movies
3. events
4. paintings
5. notes
6. many other items


When you close read, you can focus on a specific text, passage, aspect or part of the subject or sample or, alternatively or additionally, on the whole of the subject or sample. Finding out the striking features of the subject or sample can be a goal you can have for your close reading. You can also aim to focus on outside elements like responses, correspondences, approval or oppositions to the item of your reading or observation. You can do this for your custom UK dissertation. This is the first step in close reading.

Close reading for custom UK dissertation or any form of academic writing can be further done with the next step. In this step, you will have to interpret the observations you have made. Generally, you will use inductive reasoning in doing this. This means that you will move from one observation of certain facts and details towards the direction to a conclusion or interpretation based on your observations. In this step of close reading which is inductive reasoning, you will need to carefully gather data which are your observations. Then, you have to carefully think about what the data lead you to.

When you close read, right from observing your text or sample item, you should use a pencil to mark some notes on them or write on a separate note pad. You do the former when your subject is text or any other item you can write on. For example, if your specimen is a photo or image, you can reproduce a copy of it on which you can mark some notes. Otherwise, you should do the marking on a separate notepad. You also the latter if you are close reading and note writing about an event or a concept. The last two steps of close reading are looking for patterns in your observations and asking questions about them, putting more priority and emphasis on how and why. In the third step, you will observe what are the patterns you have noted down about subject. They can be repititions, contradiction or similarities. Lastly, ask yourself how and why such patterns have developed or existed.

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