Writing for Students: Using Keywords in the text

How to read (and how to write) to so you get to the point quickly using keywords in the text!

A lesson in fast efficient reading to get the sense of any two literature examples, drawn from my Eye Search and Navigation research.

In an essay or paper where you are asked to read book a and book b, read relevant texts compare the views of author a or b or write a critical assessment of the views of author a and author b  you are in fact being asked to do a literature review.
You have to read. There is no other option. You are reading for a degree after all. No pain no gain!
Here are some tips how to lessen the torture.

Watch for the key words in the text

  • Use the same method for writing clear text in earlier examples in this section of writing for reading text quickly.
  • "Navigate the text" - skim through the book you have te read - quickly by using the key words to think – yes think about what is the message.
  • Good text that is easy to read is also easily navigable - that is - will have few long chains of keywords (think of the keywords as visual icons that your brain is processing at lightening speed.
  • Also use the repeating key word method to improve your text readability.
  • Finally see how the boring but clear and easy to follow method used by academic authors - intro, examples, final statement for paragraph, section and whole paper structure actually make your life easier!!

These principles are based on my PhD research findings: easily navigated web pages are those that have simple visual links. Other have shown that the research is an extension of visual search principles in text (see page bottom).

Both these examples below are of good writing.

Writing Navigation Example

The navigation metaphor was not a new concept. For example, it had a literary tradition in 2-D text as in Figure 3.12. Chapman (1987) used chaining, register, cohesion, ellipsis, conjunction, and co-location.

text navigation

Figure 3.12: Trails of connectivity between key word themes. (Chapman, 1987, p.93)
Chapman measured the quality of reading texts by physically drawing ‘routes’ through text. Relational lines between key words in a story are ‘mapped’. Text with continuous lines of communication through a paragraph was easier to read – more easily physically navigated by the human eye.

From Howarth (2004) See chapter 3 in PhD section