Should you be highlighting that paper you’re reading?

From the LSE Impact Blog

The short answer to the question is… maybe, it depends. Not a yes or a no. That’s because should you highlight is not a simple question. Unless you are a marker addict of course, in which case the answer is an unequivocal yes.

As a “marker addict,” I really need to work on steps 2 and 3 here.

Highlighting a text is usually understood by those who research it as three steps:

  • Selecting text to highlight
  • Organising the highlights into some kind of mental or material schema and
  • Integrating what is highlighted into what is already known about the topic.

And here’s the rub. Unless you make it to step three then highlighting doesn’t actually help your comprehension of a topic.