General reading questions for works in social sciences & history

Feel free to copy and paste into a word processor to insert your own notes.

1) What’s the scholarly background of the author, and how does this shape his/her point of view?

2) What’s the explicit (or implicit) research question of the study? What puzzle is the author seeking to answer (if any)?

3) What’s the author’s thesis (or major argument) for the work as a whole (if any)? Is it insightful? Is it consistent from beginning to end?

4) What evidence do you find most — and least — persuasive in supporting the author’s thesis? How does the context of this particular social science/historical study shape its findings? Might the findings differ if the study were conducted with other people, in another place and/or time?

5) What unanswered questions came to mind while reading this text?

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