Note status: :seedling:

In Brief

Overview of and link to Casey Boyle’s strategy.

This strategy for reading is meant to build better habits of reading, as well as better note-taking. It’s a nice complement to a rhetorical-precis, but more open-ended.

Casey Boyle’s “…something like a reading ethics…”

Casey’s post on his approach (via the WaybackMachine) explains it in excellent detail. It’s very much worth reading in full.

Here’s just the brief summary he provides, both for reading and note-taking:


  1. Skim through the work noting the title, chapter, subtitles, indices, etc.
  2. Read the introduction & conclusion
  3. Fill in the rest by reading through the work


  1. Exigence (identify the writer’s articulation of the exigence)
  2. Response (identify what the writer is bringing in response to exigence). 
  3. Key Terms/Words (locate the key terms and concepts)
  4. Key Citations (3-4 key citations the work relies on)
  5. Questions (understanding and critique)
  6. Speculative Response (speculate how a writer might respond to Questions in Step 5).

  • :seedling: = emerging note
  • :herb: = established note
  • :evergreen_tree: = evergreen note
  • open access = open access
  • :closed_lock_with_key: = paywalled
  • general web link = general web link

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