Readings in nursing and science courses will differ from those in liberal arts courses in three ways:
Along with your readings from textbooks, you will read from research journals and possibly other science-oriented publications such as Scientific American, Natural History, or The Journal of Nursing Scholarship. Books may hold up-to-date information but not the most current, cutting-edge information. From the time an author submits a manuscript for a textbook, it can take a year or more for the book to be printed. For basic, or beginning, science courses, such as geology, physiology, or chemistry, the age of a textbook matters less than for courses dealing with information on technology or breakthrough discoveries, such as new cancer treatments.
The most up-to-date information is found in journals that publish research findings. Journals are designed to disseminate new and relevant information to the scientific community of a particular field. In nursing there is the Journal of Advanced Nursing Science and The Journal of Nursing Scholarship; in medicine, JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine; in life sciences, Nature. These are all examples of discipline-specific journals that publish research articles.
Journals serve the function of letting other researchers, or would-be researchers, see what their colleagues are doing. Repetition of studies is an important step in validating results before they are put into practice or applied to further study. Many research studies are designed to replicate research found in journals.
Another purpose of journals is to provide critical reviews of the research being submitted for publication. Journals have reviewers who are asked to read and comment on an article before it is published. This review process helps ensure that published research is of high quality. However, not all published research is of the highest quality, which is one very good reason why you will be learning to review research articles yourself. You have to understand the concepts of research and research methodology before you continue in a science career, because once in the field you must be able to critically review the research you read before you put it into practice.
What will help you understand what you read?
More than anything else, reading is a process that requires you, the reader, to make meaning from written words. When you make meaning, you connect yourself to the concepts being communicated. Your prior knowledge or familiarity with a subject, culture and home environment, life experiences, and even personal interpretation of words and phrases affect your understanding. Because these factors are different for every person, your reading experiences are uniquely your own.
Reading comprehension refers to your ability to understand what you read. True comprehension goes beyond just knowing facts and figures—a student can parrot back a pile of economics statistics on a test, for example, without understanding what they mean. Only when you thoroughly comprehend the information you read can you make the most effective use of that information.
All reading strategies help you to achieve a greater understanding of what you read. Therefore, every section in this chapter in some way helps you maximize your comprehension. Following are some general comprehension boosters to keep in mind as you work through the chapter and as you tackle individual reading assignments:
Build knowledge through reading and studying. More than any other factor, what you already know before you read a passage influences your ability to understand and remember important ideas. Previous knowledge gives you a context for what you read.
Think positively. Instead of telling yourself that you cannot understand, think positively. Tell yourself: I can learn this material. I am a good reader.
Think critically. Ask yourself questions. Do you understand the sentence, paragraph, or chapter you just read? Are ideas and supporting examples clear? Could you explain the material to someone else? Later in this chapter, you will learn strategies for responding critically to what you read.
Build vocabulary. Lifelong learners consider their vocabulary a work in progress. They never stop learning new words. The more you know, the more material you can understand without stopping to wonder what new words mean.
Most textbooks include devices that give students an overview of the whole text as well as of the contents of individual chapters. When you survey, pay attention to the following elements:
The front matter. Before you even get to page 1, most textbooks have a table of contents, a preface, and other textual elements. The table of contents gives you an overview with clues about coverage, topic order, and features. The preface, in particular, can point out the book’s unique approach. For example, the preface for the American history text Out of Many states that it highlights “the experiences of diverse communities of Americans in the unfolding story of our country.” This tells you that cultural diversity is a central theme.
The chapter elements. Generally, each chapter has devices that help you make meaning out of the material. Among these are the following:
At the end of a chapter, a summary may help you tie concepts together. Review questions and exercises help you review and think critically about the material. Skimming these before reading the chapter gives you clues about what’s important.
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Keys to Nursing Success, 2/e
New Edition Coming Fall '07
Source: "Keys to Nursing Success, 2/E" by Janet R. Katz
Copyright © 2004 by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458