SQ3R means the workflow survey, question, read, recite and review.

  • Survey: Compile a list of materials to read. Choose wisely using recommendations from experts or build the list via the further reading list in the best articles and books in the domain.
  • Question: Skim and list the questions. See also ♯ Feynman Technique.
  • Read: Read to find the answers to the listed questions.
  • Recite: Summarize using own words. Do dialogue with yourself.
  • Review: Review immediately. Create index to the main points. Write down the answers and summarization. Criticize instead of accept all the author’s opinions. Connect with the existing concepts.

Annotate rather than highlighting. The problem is that highlighting will trick you to spend the mental energy to decide which part is important instead of thinking on what the author says critically. Ask and answer questions and summarize after every paragraph.

Reading in Iterations

  • Title, abstract, the table of contents and figures.
  • The intro, conclusions, all figures and skim the rest.
  • The keywords, the important chapters and sentences.
  • Skim related work.
  • Read but skip the math.
  • Read all but skip parts that don’t make sense.

General Questions

  • What did authors try to accomplish? What is the overall message or theme of the book?
  • What were the key elements of the approach? How does the author’s argument unfold? What are the main principles and supporting evidence? Is the author’s argument valid?
  • What can you use yourself? What are the implications? If you agree with the author’s argument, how will you act on it? What’s the limitation?
  • What other references do you want to follow?